Genesis Response

Like Vincent and Julianna, I too am pretty familiar with the book of Genesis. Having gone to a catholic school for all thirteen years, the Bible and more particularly the book of Genesis is no surprise to me. However, although being very familiar with this book, I have never actually read it fully. I was usually just told about particular stories, or people; never the whole story of Genesis itself. So reading Genesis provided me with a fuller understanding of the book.

I don’t really know how to really convey my thoughts about reading Genesis, so I’ll just talk about what stood out for me and what I noticed.

Because of my background knowledge on biblical stories and the different books in the Bible, I knew many of the basic stories or people in Genesis, like the story of Adam and Eve, Abraham, Judah, Joseph etc. Upon actually taking the time to read Genesis, the temptation story particularly stood out to me, the reason being that it kind of reminds me of The Odyssey in some ways. For one, the serpent used disguise and deception to appeal to Eve and trick her into eating from the tree that God told her not to. This story basically describes the importance of being able to distinguish good from evil, such a simple concept to most people. I found that it’s pretty interesting how some of these things that we now know as common knowledge, or never really thought about, first appeared in the Bible; like Eve’s commission of the first sin, or how because of her misjudgment, her punishment was the pain of giving birth. Basically, those little things that I never exactly paid attention to stuck out to me.

Another instance that definitely reminded me of The Odyssey was when Joseph pretended he didn’t know his own brothers when they came to get food before the famine. Much like Odysseus, Joseph hid the truth of his identity though later revealed himself.

However, although I am familiar with this text, that doesn’t necessarily, mean I found it interesting. Perhaps it’s because I was constantly told of the Bible throughout my years of school, but it isn’t something that I particularly enjoy reading. I would have enjoyed a novel, or an epic more than reading Genesis. I found the read to be tedious and honestly, pretty boring. There were so many names of children, or brothers being constantly listed, and that lost my interest because it just felt like a task to read. Certain aspects of Genesis were somewhat intriguing to me, though the majority of it didn’t quite strike my interest.

Medea Response

So I definitely forgot to post my response on reading Medea… but here it is! Sorry for submitting this late!

But anyways, in comparison to The Odyssey, I definitely thought that Medea was an easier read. Upon reading Medea, the most prominent thought I had was, “Wow… this woman is seriously messed up.” From reading this, I learned of how crazy Medea is. Initially I feel for her. I understand and sympathize for her, because being left for another woman must be a really awful thing to get over. I thought Jason was in the wrong for the pain he had caused Medea, but that opinion quickly changed.

I understand why Medea seeks revenge on Jason, his new wife and her father, but she handles the situation in such an irrational way. She resorts to deceptive tactics, and trickery to get rid of her “enemies.” By making her children give the princess gifts that will lead to her demise, Medea basically reveals her ruthlessness. Clearly, she will stop at nothing until she receives vengeance.

What stood out most for me, was how Medea thought that taking the lives of her children was an effective way to get back at Jason. She talks of wanting to kill her two sons as punishment for the pain that Jason has inflicted on her. She reveals her sadistic and definitely irrational mind, to say the least. Honestly though, what kind of mother is heartless enough to take the lives of her any child, let alone her OWN children? Prior to committing the murder, she even hesitates and questions whether or not it is the right thing to do. She drifts in and out of rational thinking, which shows that she knows that desiring to kill her children is wrong. But she still does so in the end, and flees from the crime scene as well.

In my opinion, Medea is an irrational woman who needs a wake up call. She does things purely out of anger without really thinking about the consequences of her actions. Rather than handling the situation better, she goes insane and seeks retribution.

The Odyssey

This is my first time reading The Odyssey by Homer, and starting Homer’s tale was definitely a terrifying task for me. I wasn’t sure of how I would be able to handle the vast amount of Greek mythology contained in this particular book, but I actually managed to understand most of what was happening. With that being said, reading this novel was a new and surprisingly fun experience. With regards to The Odyssey itself, I gained much insight on the challenges that Odysseus was forced to endure. Throughout the course of the novel, Odysseus is required to overcome multiple challenges if he wishes to finally return to his homeland of Ithaca and reunite with his loved ones. The Odyssey reveals how the gods retain all power over the mortals, holding much power over many circumstances. Though perceived as a glorious, strong and superior king notable for his contributions during the Trojan War, Odysseus expresses the underlying pain and grief he feels, as he is constantly being tested and challenged. As his hopes of reaching his homeland becomes seemingly unreachable, the reader begins to learn of Odysseus’ vulnerability to the gods, as well as the power they have over him. At points in the novel he conveys a sense of defeat when he stays with Calypso for a prolonged amount of time; or when he grows powerless upon losing many of his shipmen during the journey home.  He grows defenseless and tiresome of the constant uphill battle he is forced to face, thus almost leading to his defeat and consequent demise. However, Athena constantly helps Odysseus on his journey, and provides him with the strength and optimism to push through his trials. Her role throughout Odysseus’ journey is of great importance, for at the end of the novel she expresses the immense power that the gods have. Athena manages to end the on-going feud in such a simple manner and restores peace between Odysseus and the others. Homer’s piece evidently explores not only the journey of a man’s life, but also that of his family. Aside from journeying with King Odysseus, we additionally grow to understand the affect that his absence has had on Telemachus, Penelope, and all those seemingly significant in his life.

About Me!

My name is Neia Balao and I am a first year Arts student. I am from Vancouver, BC and currently live on campus for this school year. Prior to UBC, I attended Little Flower Academy, which is an all girls high school. Asides from school, family is an immensely important part of my life. I have three brothers; Luch who is 29, Eric who is 23, and Tommy who is 7. My brothers mean the world to me, and I could not imagine my life without them.

Furthermore, my interests include reading, spending time with my family and friends, playing hockey, and travelling. With regards to reading, I love being able to set aside all other thoughts, and simply just get lost in a good novel. As previously stated, family is of dear importance to me, and spending quality time with my friends is also something I love to do. Additionally, I have been playing ice hockey for the Richmond Girls Association for about seven years now, and it is something that I am truly passionate about. Some say, “hockey is my life,” and I can definitely vouch for that statement. Moreover, throughout the course of my life, I have been fortunate enough to explore different parts of the world, including Asia, Europe, North America, and South America. I usually go on these trips with my mother, and I am so privileged to visit such beautiful places with the woman most important to me. I recently came back from a trip to the Netherlands, as well as Germany this summer. Exploring different parts of the world is also a passion of mine, and something that I intend to continue to do over the years.

Only recently graduating from high school, I am still quite nervous about what university has to offer. However, in spite of my fears, I know that I will eventually get the hang of things. I hope that this year will be a great one, especially in Arts One.

– Neia Balao