LENGTH:500-650 words. [It can be 675 counting entire essay from heading to Works Cited page. But do not obsess. Just stick close to this count and all will be well.] Length is about 2-3 pages DOUBLE-SPACED. NO BLOCK QUOTES. Essay is too short.
WRITE a formal paper using MLA format.
- USING EXAMPLES FROM 3 of the ‘books/episodes’ assigned, CREATE a “character analysis” of one (or more) of Homer’s characters in “The Odyssey” and how it affected the success of the entire famous story.
- CHOOSE ONE  of the following 4 TOPIC CHOICES to finish and prove for your short Midterm Essay.
USE 3 ASSIGNED BOOKS/EPISODES from required reading list. (Do not use any others–you will lose points)
CHOOSE 3 of THESE EPISODES/BOOKS for your 3 MAIN POINTS to prove your thesis.
CITE QUOTES from these to back up your points:
The Odyssey, Book V (Calypso)
The Odyssey, Book VI (The Princess)
The Odyssey, Book IX (Cyclopes-starting at line 103)
The Odyssey, Book X (Circe-starting at line 149)
The Odyssey, Book XI (Circe)
The Odyssey, Book XIII (Athena)
The Odyssey, Books XVII-XX (the beggar at the palace)
The Odyssey, Books XXI-XXIV (revenge and reunion)
4 TOPIC CHOICES
CHOOSE & FINISH ONE  of these sentences as your “Thesis Statement” around which to create your short essay.
(NOTE: NOT GOOD AT ESSAYS? Use this exact sentence phrasing with your additions to keep you focused. Begin with it.)
1. Odysseus is a hero, because... [FILL IN BLANK with character traits such as brave, etc.] as his actions in three episodes prove.
2. Odysseus is NOT a hero, because…[FILL IN BLANK with character traits such as cowardly, etc.] as his actions in three episodes prove.
3. Athena is the true reason that Odysseus succeeds, because...[FILL IN BLANK with character traits] as her actions in three episodes prove.
4. The women “The Odyssey” [CHOOSE 3 FROM LIST BELOW] are the reason that Odysseus succeeds in his quest, because…. [FILL IN BLANK with character traits] as their actions in three episodes prove.
Did you choose a HERO TOPIC?
Feel free to use a dictionary definition, but be sure to cite it correctly as explained in the Works Cited Quick Guide.
Did you choose the Women of The Odyssey?
CHOOSE ONLY THREE (3) of the following women, one for each of your THREE (3) main points:
3) the Princess
HOW TO START?
JUST FINISH THE SENTENCE FOR YOUR THESIS STATEMENT.
(NOTE: If you’re confident in your essay skills, you can rework your thesis statement a little, staying on the topic. But if essays are hard for you, just stick with this format and finishing one of those sentences!)
Finish your chosen sentence above, by filling in after your choice’s “because.” Choose something about his/her/their character as you’ve seen in these episodes, that is, characteristics important to the story’s plot and outcome and success as a great story for the ages.
Charming? Flawed? Cunning? Devotion? Clever? Proud? Determined? Loyal? Loving? Persistent? Resilient? Obsessed? Irresponsible? Unfaithful? Reckless? Selfish? Selfless? Wily? Brave? Bold?
(What might be others? Come up with your own from the episodes that will prove your point–just make sure to have THREE of them for THREE paragraphs/quotes/analysis. Anything is fine, but ask me first.)
“Athena is not the reason Odysseus succeeds, because….she is selfish, petty, and hates him which keeps him from getting home.”
(Yes, I know….that’s not true. I’m only using it to show how you should end your chosen TOPIC CHOICE thesis sentence. Got it?)
Use only “The Odyssey” episodes LISTED ABOVE for your examples/quotes to prove your TOPIC CHOICE.
—You may refer to others from Book I-IV summary, if desired, but NOT for a MAIN POINT NOR FOR QUOTES.
–You can use the same book/episode for 2 of those examples/quotes, but not all 3. Choose at least 2 different books/episodes for your examples/quotes, in other words.
What do these 3 stories (and “The Odyssey” adventures in general) tell me that can prove or disprove my TOPIC CHOICE?
Choosing Odyssey women?
One woman per main point paragraph.
THE EXPLANATION LECTURE
(as if I were standing in front of you in a classroom
answering ALL your questions!)
Do you hate essays? One of the things you are supposed to be learning in this English course studying literature is critical thinking. Another is to give credit where credit is due in writing–to “cite”correctly. You need both for life and career.
That’s why we are to think “critically,” that is analytically, about what you’re reading. That’s what literature is all about, really, making us really think about life as a human being. Even in the basic,entertainment-only story, that’s what we like. World literature that has lasted this long offers us more than just entertainment, though, monsters and sirens aside. Think about it.
For your first essay, I’ll be asking you to do a SIMPLE “character analysis” for “The Odyssey” based on our discussion forums.
Don’t overthink this. It should be very, very simple…
-One of these TOPIC CHOICES above fits your opinion of what you’ve read and what we’ve discussed the last two weeks, right? Choose that one.
-Create a thesis statement by finishing the sentence following “because…” with 3 character traits that prove your opinion.
-Then prove it all with 3 episodes/quotes and correct citations. (USE the Bare Bones Outline below and/or “Preparing a Good Paper-The Odyssey” in HANDOUTS.)
-Add a conclusion and a Works Cited page.
-USE ESSAY CHECKLIST in this folder.
-Submit it to WRITING LAB 24-Hour Essay Review.
-Rewrite and polish.
-And voila! You’re done.
But what is a “Character” Analysis?
In a less well-written story, characters might be stiff, unreal, 2 dimensional. That’s not true of most of the main characters of The Odyssey, is it? Asking you to do a character analysis is asking you to think critically about what sort of person Homer has created that is so “real” on the page somehow that he all but jumps off it.
Let’s take Odysseus, the main character, as an example. He isn’t a comic book-like “super-hero.” He makes mistakes, he strays, but in the end, we root for him. We wouldn’t care if Homer hadn’t done his bit of “magic” and made him somehow human, in less-than-human situations. We relate to him. The same can be said for the women in the stories, the only other characters that are treated with 3-dimensions. (Did you notice that?) We see the best and worst of ourselves in such characters.
In fact, sometimes it’s hard to decide what to think of our “hero.” Some of you think he is heroic, some of you don’t. He seems almost too real–too many failures, too many flaws, too many goofs–doesn’t he? That’s why it’s easy to debate which he is.
And what about the women? Do they get their credit for carrying the bulk of the narrative flow? They make things happen, don’t they? Could the story have been told without them?
Such is the raw material for a good literary paper–you’re exploring an idea from the story, and trying to draw some truth out of it, or prove how it helped make the story a classic, etc. Each main point should back up your thesis with proof through specific details and examples from the story.
I’ve made it easy for you.
I’ve given you 4 TOPICS from which to choose that are literally your thesis statements ready for you to finish. Just choose the one more interesting to you. Then prove it, showing me you have a grasp of citations as I’ve offered in the Works Cited Quick Guide.
So, you tell me: What part of Odysseus’ character, for example, was most interesting? His flaws? His devotion? His wit, cunning, perseverence, his compassion? His way with women? His way with monsters? His attitude? His brutality? His good vs. evil personal battles? Whatever it is (something else may have just popped into your mind), that should help you choose your TOPIC CHOICE above.
Homer wanted you to notice that extra dimension of this main character that made him human enough for us to identify with.
For example, do you find the women/goddesses of the story even more intriguing? I do, too.
Now you analyze HOW the story creates/proves your TOPIC CHOICE. Try to understand why Homer chose to tell this certain story (or stories) to showcase those certain characteristics of his hero. THESE are what have helped you form YOUR opinion and YOUR CHOICE OF TOPIC ABOVE. Just use them to prove your opinion now!
DO NOT JUST RE-TELL THE STORY. Remember that your job is to analyze not retell. Each reference must back up a POINT YOU WANT TO MAKE, and then follow it with an analysis of your own about how it is proving your point.
Although you might need to briefly summarize a portion of the storyline, you should avoid retelling the story. Assume that the reader of your paper knows the story as well as you do, although that doesn’t mean you don’t go ahead and mention obvious things, as you might in a debate. You just analyze (make a comment about) it after you mention/quote the event.
And remember: WRITE A VERY SHORT ESSAY. You’re writing only 500-650 words, no more, no less. You’ll be amazed what you learn about your writing when forced to edit yourself…
Your Week 3 QA Essay Jumpstart gives you a bare bones outline to get going.