Patty: A Personal Memoir
The Week in Review: April 14-21

George Writes an Essay

Another take on how to write about reading...

    Why am I the poor smuck saddled with a teacher who insists on finding meaning and metaphor in everything we read? Like The Odyssey: I mean, the book is full of random everythings; Like just when Odysseus starts to figure something out (and I have a half a clue what is going on) he breaks of into some wild story with a hundred new characters. "Oh," says my teacher, "that is a literary technique to build the scope and sweep of the poem. It is the hallmark of an "epic" literary work." If that is the case, then I have a crazy old uncle—a guy who never knows when to stop talking—who is probably a direct descendant of Homer. Yeah, from now on I'll call him "Uncle Epic." The only reason I half like the book is because I actually believe that I'm supposed to like it—or at least appreciate it. I can't imagine that every English teacher for the last 1500 years or so is wrong. Maybe they've all been hypnotized by the Siren's song of conformity. I liked that part of the book: Odysseus getting his crew to lash him to the mast so he could hear the Siren's song, but still not do something stupid like get lured away by Siren herself. "Stairway to Heaven" probably had that effect in the 70's when it first came out. Jees, I'm as bad as Homer; Listen to me getting off track. And I shouldn't get off track because this foolish essay is only one of six assignments over the weekend.

SIX!

 

Ohmygod...there was that six headed monster in the book, too. So life does imitate art. I'll keep repeating to myself: "It's only an epic; it's only an epic..." And if I don't do my homework then I'll probably have to work in the yard. Oh no! That's simply a metaphor for the whirlpool that almost sucked in Odysseus' ship, How does a kid find his way in life? Monsters on the right, whirlpools on the left; so many Gods plotting how to make my day miserable. My teachers think their Gods sometimes. Oh, for one bright-eyed Athena of a teacher to understand...

God, I'm probably going to fail this essay because I'm using the "I" in my "voice!" Not to worry. I'll just rant and rage and think and write, THEN I'll go back and change everything to the third person—you know, the guy we never really get to meet. Really, it's like going on a date with a mannequin.

Somewhere in here is my thesis statement. I hope my teacher finds it. I hope I find it. I wonder if I just write what I know he wants to hear if he'll go easy on me. It works you know; I tried it once.

Actually, I just looked and I couldn't find my thesis statement. But, if he read this far and hasn't flunked me then maybe he'll read more. That would be kind of fun: Write something that keeps looking like it's leading somewhere wicked profound and then say "April Fools" at the end.

I wonder if my teacher would find meaning and metaphor in that?

I love these short paragraphs. I'm already well over the minimum of five paragraphs. I really wonder who the first teacher was who ever coined the term "Five Paragraph Essay;" There's probably a statue somewhere. Ha, and the statue is holding a copy of The Odyssey in one hand and a gradebook in the other. LOL :)

O.K. Here goes:

The Odyssey survives not because of what it is, but because of who it is. Figure that out for yourself my dear teacher-my teacher who at this very moment is leaving to visit the New Bedford Whaling Museum for a day of "much needed" rest and relaxation, while we slave like oarsmen in a tempest over his stupid assignment.

If he comes back and says we will now read Moby Dick, I swear it won’t be pretty. It will be like Book 22, in “Slaughter in the Halls," when Telemachus and Odysseus go on a father/son rampage.  Now that made The Odyssey worth reading...

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