Ap english Literature – Analytical Literature Review title: The Odyssey author: Homer



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AP English Literature – Analytical Literature Review
TITLE: The Odyssey AUTHOR: Homer


Historical context – what do you know about the author’s time (political, social, and philosophical) that is relevant to the text and its theme?
Homer was born in the late 8th century BC time period of Ancient Greece which was a time period filled with war. During the Trojan War, Odysseus wrote his epic poem, The Odyssey. Homer’s poem is a part of Greek culture as it was written during the Trojan War. The societies’ beliefs in the many different gods such as Zeus and Poseidon led to Homer’s ideas to create The Odyssey.


Setting – location, region, country, historical period – how does setting influence characterization? How does setting influence theme?
The book is placed near the end of the 8th century BC time period in Ancient Greece. This particular setting, with the inclusion of the Trojan War, influences characterization by changing the characteristics of heroism and who a hero is. If this book’s setting was, for example, placed in today’s time period, Odysseus might have been a fireman instead of a warrior. Odysseus is placed in the region of Ithaca.


Author Biography – what do you know about the author that gives information about the text, its themes, and its significance?
Homer was born in Ancient Greece. The society of Greece in this time period believed in multiple gods, and Homer used these views of the gods and created The Odyssey. He was viewed as a teacher, teaching his religious views to other people who did not live in Greece at the time. We only know a small amount of Homer’s life, as he was born in the 8th century of BC.

Inciting Incident – what character and/or events cause the conflict? How does the inciting incident inform theme?
The suitors cause the conflict with Odysseus’ family. Poseidon becomes a leading problem for Odyssey.



Internal Conflict – What characters struggle internally? How and why? Does this conflict inform theme?
Penelope has internal conflict through trying to give up Odysseus to marry one of the suitors. This conflict ends when Odysseus arrives.


External Conflict- Between whom/what? Why? How does conflict inform theme?
Telemachus has an external conflict with the suitors. He is not able to defeat the suitors because he is not strong enough.


Symbolism - abstract or concrete? What are they? How does symbolism inform theme?
Heroism is a large symbol in the Odyssey. Odysseus uses his stealth and heroism to tackle through obstacles and problems. All throughout his journey to Ithaca, Odysseus’ heroism is tested.



Tone – How is the author’s and/or speaker’s attitude evident in the text?
The poem has a heroic tone, in the sense that readers will gain an understanding of how this poem is specifically an epic poem.

Characterization – how and what type – flat/round? Static/dynamic? Stock? Protagonist/Antagonist/Foil? Motivation? Attitudes? Analysis of major characters. How does characterization inform theme?
Odysseus is a hero, and his goal in the epic poem is to return to Ithaca and rescue his family from the suitors. Athena acts as a foil to Odysseus. Through Athena’s help, Odysseus successfully makes it home to Ithaca.

Figurative language and literary devices – what devices are most prominent? What do they mean? How does the meaning relate to the theme?
The Odyssey is an epic poem, which tells of a hero who fights for the good of all. By using an epic poem, Homer was able to effectively tell a story of a hero and his journey to his homeland.

Universal application – What specific themes are relevant to life/the human condition beyond the pages of the text? Answer “so what?” for the themes—why does this text matter?
This text matters because it teaches readers the religious views of Ancient Greece. Homer created The Odyssey as a way to show Ancient Greece’s religion, and to tell a story of a hero who risks his life for the love of his family.




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