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The Odyssey Essay
Fitz Freshman English
Tuesday November 19th, 2019
The Odyssey: Books I~XII
Odysseus and Telemachus, separate journeys, same destination
Classic′ - a book which people praise and don't read.
One might perceive The Odyssey as just a story about the hard times and difficult travels of Odysseus, but it has much deeper meaning than that. It is an experience with many different themes, it is almost as if every book has something new to teach us. I am only on Book 12 out of 24 books, and I have been exposed to a lot of different themes and lessons. I am certain that there is much more for me to learn from this book, yet I am still curious and unsure of what awaits. The Odyssey, Books 1-12 has exposed me to three major themes: The impact of gods, personality traits of the characters, and the power of a family.
Throughout time people have believed, and some continue to believe, that our lives are guided by gods. Without the Gods, mortals would not have guidance. In the book, The Odyssey, by Homer, The gods direct the way for the wellbeing of the mortals. In the first six books of The Odyssey there are many events which the gods have influenced in both the positive and negative. There are many gods that have an influence on the events that occur in the book. Athena, disguised as Mentes, helps Telemachus along his journeys. A negative influence a god had on a mortal was Poseidon punishing Odysseus by throwing a storm to make his travels hard.
And this enables Polyphemus to invoke the wrath of his father, the sea god Poseidon, and ensure that Odysseus will come home late and come a broken man —all shipmates lost, alone in a stranger’s ship, to find a world of pain at home. [The Odyssey, Book II]
Poseidon makes life hard for Odysseus by always being a road block in his journeys. By Poseidon creating a storm to cause him to go off track of his journey, it lead Odysseus to end up on an island with Calypso, where he stays for a long time trapped on this island. Throughout the books that we’ve read so far, the Gods have greatly impacted the storyline. Telemachus is aided in his difficult journey to find his father, Odysseus. Meanwhile, Odysseus is being targeted by Poseidon, who does not want him to succeed. Up to book 6, The Odyssey has been like a play directed by the Gods, they are not the main actors, but they affect how it all plays out.
Another theme I took away was about the personality traits of Gods and Mortals. Throughout different situations, both gods and mortals show many different character traits. The characters are forced to show their true personalities as the story unfolds. Many characters go through difficult situations throughout the book that make it hard for them to be their best selfs. That’s why through these situations we find out who they truly are. Many of the character traits shown include Telemachus showing determination. Even in the toughest of all times he keeps persevering to find his father, Odysseus. Athena disguises herself as Mentes, king of the Taphians throughout the first few books. She watches over Telemachus, guiding his way so he won’t fail. Athena shows her true personality as a caring god, although she is the god of war, she protects Telemachus and cares about his well being. She even makes him look good, almost like a god, because of her true character and her care for Telemachus.
Telemachus strode in too, a bronze spear in his grip and not alone: two sleek hounds went trotting at his heels. And Athena lavished a marvelous splendor on the prince so the people all gazed in wonder as he came forward, [The Odyssey, Book 2]
As we read more and more books in The Odyssey we build a bigger connection to the characters. We get to know each one better and we see who they really are based on the decisions they make as the story unfolds. Some gods help the mortals, such as Athena, and others do not help them, such as Poseidon. Every character we have met so far has an impact on the storyline of the book, and it depends on what their true personality is to determine wether the impact is positive or negative. With all things considered, the god’s actions, decisions and dealing of different situations were revealed throughout the story just like characters are in a movie. This not only progressed the story however, it also showed us who they truly are.
Never underestimate the power of family. The first twelve books of The Odyssey demonstrate the true power and connection of a family. Telemachus defies the suitors and embarks on a search for his long lost father, Odysseus. Meanwhile, Odysseus is trying to make his way back home to Ithaca to be with Penelope, who is trying to keep the suitors at bay. At his house in Ithaca, a lonely and unhappy Telemachus is overwhelmed by suitors. He does not have his father, and his house is being filled with suitors drinking his wine and trying to get with hit mother. Things are not going well for Telemachus, and he wants this to change. No one walks into his house, flirting with his mother, and stealing his drinks without him having something to say about it. In this moment, Telemachus realizes it is time to become a man, and he uses this drive to push out the suitors and set out to find Odysseus.
Think hard, reach down deep in your heart and soul for a way to kill these suitors in your house, by stealth or in open combat. You must not cling to your boyhood any longer — it’s time you were a man. [The Odyssey, book 1]
Things weren’t looking good for Telemachus at the moment, but he used his drive and determination to change that. No one messes with his family, and he made sure of that. He truly changed from a boy to a man, and defended his mom and set out to find his father. Telemachus’ actions in book one shows why you truly should never underestimate the power of family
My final takeaway from the books we have read so far is that everyone deserves kindness, and a place where they feel welcome. Book 7 of The Odyssey showed me the power of kindness and welcoming, and how it can affect someone greatly. Odysseus was immediately welcomed into Arete’s and Alcinous’s palace. What if everyone welcomed people in this way. I sat down to read book seven in a certain mindset. I was thinking “I just want to get through the book and be done with it”. After reading most of book seven, my mindset started to change. A specific part I remember is when Athena disguised Odysseus in mist and led him to the castle disguised as a little girl. What got me really thinking is when he walked in and was quickly welcomed to eat and drink. I notice how compared to The Odyssey, things are much different today. There are also many similarities, but right now I am focusing on the differences. When someone walks into our house nowadays, we usually do not feed them or give them drinks, we usually see it as some sort of threat to our safety. Rather than finishing book seven and moving straight on to something else, book seven really make me think and reflect. As times have changed, people have too. Book 7, similar the other books, had a theme that connected to me. Life may have been totally different for Odysseus than it is for us, nevertheless, The Odyssey explored and brought out the connections and similarities
There is so much for us to learn from The Odyssey; you may be thinking “how can a book about gods and a mortal struggling to make his way home relate to me”; it’s not about the experiences Odysseus goes through that we can connect to, it is how he deals with these obstacles which is what we can truly learn from and apply to our lives.
Halloween Night: A Scary Story
Halloween Night 1995
Every day is Halloween isn’t it? For some of us...
The night of Halloween, 1995. Four boys, Johnny, Ronny, Donny, and Lonny were preparing for a long night of trick or treating. They were at Johnny's house as his street was one of the best spots to trick or treat in town. They were dressed as a gang of zombies, they had ripped shirts with red face paint. Johnny pulled out four pillowcases for their candy, for they were almost ready to trick or treat. 6:30pm.
The Eaglebrook Soccer Tournament
One of my favorite Fenn experiences
Eleven teenage boys in white Jerseys stood on the damp, muddy soccer field, waiting for the high pitch tweet of the whistle. They stood there as if they were preparing to take on a big one eyed monster, not just another soccer team. The fire inside them burned hotter than ever, hot enough that the cold, wet air, and the muddy fields seemed as if they stood no chance at stopping them from their goal: an Eaglebrook tournament win.
The referee clomped out on the field ready to kick off the Eaglebrook championship, the only thing that stood between us and the other teams goal was was the loud tweet of the whistle. Oh, and did I mention the monstrous Fay soccer team with athletes from around the country. It appears that this would have to be a David vs Goliath story for the small, frail Fenn boys to defeat the giant Fay soccer team. The referee blew the whistle to signify the start to out 20 minute soccer game. The Fay team started off with power, easily bodying and outplaying the Fenn kids as if they were nothing. It looked like Fay was playing this game with ease so far.
Fast forward 10 minutes into the game, Fay 1 Fenn 0. One of the Fay soccer players, probably one of the best ninth graders in New England rocketed the soccer ball into the net. Things were not looking to good for Fenn. The ball was in Fenn’s half of the field. On of the defenders for Fenn, Sam Dean, launched the ball up the field like it had been shot out of a cannon. Luca Raffa, a midfielder for Fenn who probably has the best shot on the team, controlled the ball and blasted it into the bottom right corner. GOOOOALLLLL. Fay 1 Fenn 1, the game was tied up. Fast forward 8 minutes. Somehow the Fenn defense has man marked so hard that Fay never got a good opportunity to score. 1 minute left, all tied up. Fay has possession and dribbled the ball up the field. 3o seconds, Jack Doherty stole the ball with a slide tackle and passed it to Wade, another defender. 20 seconds, Wade dribbled the ball up and made a pass to the middle of the field. 10 seconds, the ball got deflected by a Fay player, and it went up into the air heading towards Fenn’s side of the field. 5 seconds, Sam Dean controlled the ball and took one dribble, he was wide open about 15 feet above the 18 yard box. 2 seconds left, he knew he had to shoot, he had no time left. He shot the ball and it went soaring into the air. It hit bar down and bounced into the net. The Fenn team had done the unbelievable and won a crazy underdog game. The Eaglebrook trophy was handed to the coach, Star, and the Fenn team celebrated for what must have been 20 minutes.
That’s when I woke up.
Class With Adam Aronovitz
The Conclusions We Make About People Before Really Knowing Them
Even a sheet of paper has two sides.
A few days ago during english class we had a guest speaker, a good friend of Fitz’s, Adam Aronovitz. I walked into the library, lazy and tired, and plopped my backpack down against a wall. I saw a bunch of my classmates sitting on the stairs, so I joined them. We patiently waited, cracking jokes and talking to each other, until the the speaker began talking.
Adam started by talking to us in the library about what he does as a job. He seems to have a pretty cool job, he travels all around the world with students and guides them on trips. Adam has been to a lot of different places and seen a lot of different cultures which I found cool. After speaking about himself for a little about who he is and what he does, we started doing an activity. We were split into four groups by advisor. Each group got assigned a country, two of them got a rich country with lots of materials and resources (I was in that group), and two other groups got assigned a poor country with not many resources and not much wealth. Both groups read all about their own country, but knew little about the others. The main part of the activity is that my group got a lot of paper and other things which represented wealth, and we went over to the group without much wealth’s table and we offered them our resources to help build a monument of some sort. Since they did not know much about our country, they saw us as arrogant rich people, and since we had not learned about them, we saw them as poor people in need of help.
We wrapped up the activity with a discussion, each group said what they thought about the other. As I said earlier, they thought we were arrogant and rich and we thought the were helpless and poor. To conclude the whole conversation we read the description of each country out loud and finally all understood both countries. It was fascinating how we made all these conclusions about the countries after seeing how they acted, but we really did not know the story behind what they were doing.
I enjoyed this english class and I am glad that Mr. Aronovitz could join us for the class, it was a great learning experience about perspective and conclusions about people (or countries) that we make without knowing their true story.
How 9th grade could improve
The wants of a ninth grade boy
My ninth grade experience has been a lot of fun so far, I enjoy the time I get to spend with my close friends at school. Although my year has been good, it could be better. There are some things that could be improved to make this year my best year at Fenn. The school spirit at Fenn has been burning out, we need to act soon to bring back the energetic, exciting community it used to be.
The Power of Hard Times
Hard Times Allow Us To Bounce Back Stronger
Be thankful for hard times, for they have made you
Everyone experiences hard times, that's how we learn. I have been through hard times, but each hard time comes with a lesson which I use to learn and grow. Hard times can take shape in many different ways. It could be when you lose a sports game or get a bad grade on an assignment. The Varsity soccer team fought hard in our game against St. Sebastians, but we let our guard down too soon. We made the mistake of getting ahead of ourselves, and not playing hard until the last whistle. We got up 3-0 by the end of the first half. As the second half started we thought we had this game in the bag, but we let our guard down too soon. St. Sebastian's fought back hard and came back with three crushing goals to make the score 3-3. Although this game ended in a tie, it really felt like a loss to all of us. We were ashamed that we had not played our hardest, and let each other down. Losing a game in soccer can be frustrating, although it may not be an incredibly hard time it is still upsetting . The thing about hard times is that even when we feel really down, we always bounce back harder. Next game we will come back stronger an seal off the win instead of letting it slip away from us, that's what hard times can do. The thing about hard times is that there is a good side to it; we use them to grow, to learn, and to come back stronger.
The Joy Of A Special Place
The most wasted of all days is one without laughter
A place is truly special when you smile every time you arrive there. When my car pulls into the New Hampshire house driveway I feel as if I am dropping all my stress off at the end of the road. At the New Hampshire house in Springfield, NH I feel freedom. I feel as if I can do whatever I want, I could be paddle boarding on the lake, or even hanging out with my family having a good time inside.
I was out in the middle of Lake Kolelemook in Springfield, New Hampshire, I tried my best to gain my balance on the paddle board, but my three cousins tipped me right off into the water. Everyone around the lake could probably hear the echo of laughter, or even screaming during the epic battle of paddle board wars.
The essence of paddle board wars with my cousins is not just about tossing each other off a paddle board and climbing back on, it is really about the freedom and the fun that I get to have out on the lake. When I am out there I feel relieved of stress. All my worries about school and other things go away. Instead of thinking about mathematics or biology, I think about the best way to tip my cousins off a paddle board. It just feels as if I am in a different world, a world of fun.
It is through times like these that I become relieved of all my worries about the future, and start focusing about the fun of the present.
Freewrite about my day at Belmont Hill
A Saturday spent watching sports with a friend
Friday night, September 27th, I sat in my basement exercising my thumbs on some Fortnite thinking about what my day would be like on Saturday. On Saturday Belmont Hill was having their homecoming, I thought that this would be pretty fun, So I decided to go. At homecoming there were fun things to do: The varsity soccer team had a game against Tabor, the varsity football team had a game against Roxbury Latin, and there would be food and fun activities to do. This did sound like a fun thing to do on Saturday, but I knew that there was one thing that would make this better: bringing a friend.
I arrived at Belmont hill a little after 12, I took a good look around and thought: this might as well be the lamest homecoming ever, there is barely anyone here and nothing to do yet. I wandered inside and realized that there actually were people here. Inside there was mini golf, and some bouncy houses; neither of which I ended up doing. Fast forward to 1:15, much more people had started arriving and the varsity soccer game just started. The soccer games are always very interesting and fun to watch, but a lot of my attention kept getting dragged to the parking lot, each time I glanced over I hoped to see my friend walking towards me. That is when the real fun would begin. Sometime around 1:45, my friend Parker and I would have been up in a balcony. Switching between watching the soccer game and the football game while munching on some food. The soccer game came to an end, Belmont Hill had won the game, and now we watched football. The rest of our time at Belmont Hill was spent walking around, watching football, and eating food. All of those things I enjoyed. Although my descriptions did not make it seem like Homecoming was very fun, I had a great time with Parker, laughing and watching sports.
I am glad to have gone to see the games and spend some time with my friend, It was worth it. Spending time with people you like to be around, and doing things you like to do is always worth it.
Lessons from a class camping trip
Nature is not a place to visit; it is home.
My classmates and I are stationed almost everywhere along the Camp Belknap waterfront, on Lake Winnipesauke. Jack Moskow was designated to the diving board, Tom Murdough was on the high platform, Jack Bretl was on another diving board, and Hayden, Will and I were on the dock. I was at the basketball hoop anxiously waiting for the basketball to come to me so I can complete the trick shot. Jack Moskow leaped off the diving board and threw a basketball up to Tom Murdough on the high dive. Tom jumped off, caught the ball and threw it to Jack Bretl. Bretl attempted to get the ball to Hayden who stood on the dock. The ball fell into the water; all of us had a face of disappointment. Through these fun times on our 9th grade trip I discovered how nature makes me feel free; I realized that I should continue making new friends, and I learned how to be a better leader.
Everybody needs a friend,and as a part of a small ninth grade class of twenty three students, a trip to Camp Belknap gave me time to spend with all of my classmates; moreover, I strengthened friendships with classmates I never knew could be my friends. The cabins were randomized, so there was no guarantee that I was with my friends. In my cabin, Cabin 5, was: Kimball, Bobby, Harrison, Daniel, Will, Garret, and Jack. I was lucky to have some of my good friends in the cabin, but I was also lucky to have had some people I did no really know well. Being in a cabin together meant spending a lot of time together. Over this time I got to know Garrett, Harrison, Bobby, and Daniel a little better because I have never really been good friends with them. Whether I was spending time with Garrett and Harrison talking in the cabin or racing Bobby on a paddle board, I had great experiences making new friends.
No one is born a leader, but being a ninth grader at Fenn means I will have to become a leader. We are the role models for the school; this comes with responsibility. During my time at Belknap I got to think about how I want to be remembered at Fenn, and also supposedly what type of leader I am. We did an activity where there were two ropes lined up perpendicular to each other, Mr. Erwin then said that each end of the horizontal rope represents either wind or water. He read a description of what it meant to be wind and what it meant to be water and then we would line up along the line depending on where we thought we would go. I was on the wind side I believe. Then he read descriptions of what each end of the vertical line meant. Either you were a hot tamale, a cool cucumber, or somewhere in between. I was a cool cucumber. Whichever quadrant of the two lines you were in meant what type of leader you are. Apparently I am a driver meaning I take action and come to decisions. It means I am a big leader and am quick to step up to the role. One of my goals is to be a driver for the school and stand out as a leader, maybe this year will be my year.
Nature makes me feel free, I really did enjoy my time out camping with friends. I think it was great to be away from electronics, and to take a break from the real world. Even though jumping off the high platform into the water made my heartbeat go crazy, it was very peaceful. Soaking in the sounds of nature is magical. I remember laying down on my bunk late at night, listening to the crickets and other animals, thinking to myself how peaceful nature really is. It gave me a sense of freedom which is very special, and almost one of a kind; the freedom of nature.
Leadership, friendship, and the freedom of nature are lessons I have learned during my time at Belknap. Leadership; every group needs a leader, leaders help us learn, and grow. Friendship; everyone needs a friend, friends give us laughter and are always around for a good time. Nature; getting away from electronics and outside every once and a while is truly special. Nature is a form of freedom. In my opinion, the most peaceful form.
Sometimes all we need is a small getaway to learn important lessons in life.
The Essence Of Community, Place, And Stewardship
The Fenn Community, My Second Home
Community is about doing something together that makes belonging matter
Everyone has a place where they feel happy and welcome, one of those places for me is Fenn. Even when I am having a bad day, getting accused of gaming, or wearing a hat inside, I still feel happy at the Fenn community which I love.
Community is not just a group of people in the same area, community is a feeling. It is the feeling you get when you go to a place and it still feels like home. Fenn is a community which I am glad to be a part of. I am surrounded by people I like, and even if there are some people I do not know well, I still consider them a part of this community. A community can be whatever you want it to be. It could just be a neighborhood or a camp. It’s not just people living in the same place, or working in the same area. It can also be a fellowship, like a group of friends. One of my favorite communities to be a part of was Camp Coniston. I got to make so many friends over the 5 years I was there, and it was a special community for me, and for my family.
It is amazing how much impact a place can have on people. A place can bring back memories, happy or sad. Places bring back a lot of nostalgia. One of my favorite places to go is to my lake house in New Hampshire. When I am there I feel like I have a lot of freedom, I love when I can paddle board out on the lake whenever I want. There can be places that we get so used to going there and it is so special that it feels like we haven’t even left home. That is the power of a place. I remember Fitz talking to us in class about every time he drives up the hill to Windsor, he feels a sort of happiness. That this is relatable for many people, including me at New Hampshire and Coniston.
Stewardship is very valuable. Without someone to lead a group, those learning our being lead would be wandering around clueless. If there was a classroom and the class had no teacher, the class would not be able to just teach themselves all of the material. They would need stewardship. Stewardship is what helps guide people to learn and understand things better. People my age are being taught most of the things we know by people of older generations. Those teaching us had to learn from somewhere, which they probably did from their teachers or parents. Without knowledge being passed down to us, and without having a steward to guide us, we would have to learn everything by doing.