|Odysseus in America Vs Odyssey
Author: Kainen-no-Kitsune PM
A small Essay I wrote for English comparing The Odyssey to a paper called Odysseus in America.Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Horror - Words: 594 - Reviews: 1 - Published: 04-12-12 - Status: Complete - id: 3012856
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The Odyssey is a classic tale by Homer, the story of a man trying to make his way home. On the journey he and his crew encounter different types of monsters, and slowly the crew diminishes until the only one left is Odysseus. Odysseus in America, while not an epic tale of heroes and meddling gods, is a tale that has it's own monsters. In this story the monsters slowly eat away at men's minds. These monsters are memories.
To begin with the superficial, we can compare the things such as the titles. With the similar titles of "Odyssey" and "Odysseus", most people could make the assumption that they may somehow be related or that one may be an allusion to the other without any prior knowledge. Also superficial is the genre. The Odyssey, while categorized with other mythology as nonfiction, is a fictional story. It's also full of action and conversation, just like any good tale. Odysseus in America is a nonfiction paper. It doesn't detail the heroic feats of man, but the psychological after affect of wars.
Within the two stories, there are two types of similarities. There are the physical similarities, what the people did, and the psychological similarities, how the people reacted. Among the physical details are visuals such as crew member having their brains dashed out upon the floor, compared to squad members having their grey matter blown out the back of their heads. However, while in The Odyssey most tragedies were orchestrated by some type of monster or god; In Odysseus in America, the monster is your fellow man, and God seems very far away.
Among the psychological similarities, other than the emotional scarring, there are things like the drugs. The drugs are used to forget what has been seen, a way to try and erase old habits. However, where Odysseus' men are enticed by the indigenous people of another island to try the 'lotus', our own American heroes are often given the drugs to begin with, then cut off, all by their own people. Painkillers, for injuries, anti-hallucinogens to stop flashbacks; there is more to addiction than what can be bought off the street corner and in the ally. What might also be noted is the breeding of distrust. In The Odyssey, Odysseus gains the bag of winds from the wind god, a gift that would allow him to get back home as long as it was not opened. However, Odysseus' men didn't trust him, and later in time they opened the bag. Once upon a time, these men may have never questioned their leader, their 'Lord Odysseus of Ithaca.' After the emotional scarring of war, loyalty is questioned because survival comes first and following can get you killed. The same types of situations happen in Odysseus in America, such as when Bear's commander orders his squad in the abandoned GI fort.
Even with all these similarities, there is one key difference. The Odyssey cannot happen, because it's a fictional story about monsters. Odysseus in America however is nothing short of reality. Stories listed within that article are not made up; they are the true stories about the horrors of war. They may have been distorted by time, or that may not be the whole story, but it is still truth to the ones who lived it. And that will always be the main difference, no matter what may be similar. This is real life, and no gods or monsters are here to detract from the horror of humanity.