Ia 2 –Fighting Fate in



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Appendix C:

Mini Close Reads
Directions:

Each of these passages gives us insight into the character of Penelope. Read each one carefully once in order to summarize for meaning. Then, read them a second time in groups to answer the analysis questions in the right hand column.




Comprehension questions:

  1. Who is speaking to whom?



  1. What are they talking about?



  1. What is the speaker’s tone?



  1. What does the listener do in return?

Analysis questions:



  1. What does this tell us about Penelope?



  1. What kinds of literary devices are used? (look at the last two lines!)



  1. What do these devices “do”?


Book I, Lines 409-419


Telemachus: “‘…So Mother,

Go back to your quarters. Tend to your own tasks,

the distaff and the loom, and keep the women

working hard as well. As for giving orders,

men will see to that, but I most of all:

I hold the reigns of power in this house.’”

Astonished,

she withdrew to her own room . She took to heart

the clear good sense in what her son had said.

Climbing up to the lofty chamber with her women,

she fell to weeping for Odysseus, her beloved husband,

till watchful Athena sealed her eyes with welcome sleep.”


Summary:



Comprehension questions:

  1. Who is speaking to whom?



  1. What are they talking about?



  1. What is the speaker’s tone?

Analysis questions:



  1. What does this tell us about Penelope?



  1. What kinds of literary devices are used? What do these devices “do”?


Book II, Lines 90-119

Antinous:

“So high and mighty, Telemachus—such unbridled rage!

Well now, fling your accusations at us?

Think to pin the blame on us? You think again,

It’s not the suitors here who deserve the blame,

it's your own dear mother, the matchless queen of cunning.

Look here. For three years now, getting on to four,

she's played it fast and loose with all our hearts,

building each man’s hopes—

dangling promises, dropping hints to each—

but all the while with something else in mind.

This was her latest masterpiece of guile:

She set up a great loom in the royal halls

and she began to weave, and the weaving fine-spun,

the yarns endlsess, and she would lead us on: ‘Young men,

my suitors, now that King Odysseus is no more,

go slowly, keen as you are to marry me, until

I can finish off this web…

So my weaving won’t all fray and come to nothing.

This is a shroud for old lord Laertes, for that day

when the deadly fate that lays us out at last will take him down.

I dread the shame my country women would heap upon me,

Yes, if a man of such wealth should lie in state

without a shroud for cover.’

Her very words,

and despite our pride and passion we believed her.

So by day she’d weave her great and growing web—

by night, by the light of torches set beside her,

she would unravel all she’d done. Three whole years

she deceived us blind, seduced us with this scheme…”




Comprehension questions:

  1. Who is speaking to whom?



  1. What are they talking about?



  1. What is the speaker’s tone?

Analysis questions:



  1. What does this tell us about Penelope?



  1. What kinds of literary devices are used?



  1. What do these devices “do”?


Book IV, Lines 819-827

Penelope:

But now my son,

my darling boy—the whirlwinds have ripped him

out of the halls without a trace! I never heard

he’d gone—not even from you, you hard, heartless…

not one of you even thought to rouse me from my bed,

though well you knew when he boarded that black ship.

Oh if only I had learned he was planning such a journey,

he would have stayed, by god, keen as he was to sail—

or left me dead right here within our palace.


Summary:


Comprehension questions:

  1. Why is Penelope crying?



  1. How does Odysseus respond? Why?

Analysis questions:

  1. What does this tell us about Penelope? What does this tell us about her relationship with Odysseus?



  1. What do these devices “do”? What effect do they have on the reader? (why didn’t Homer just say, Penelope wept?)


Book XIX, Lines 236-245

Narration:

...As she listened on, her tears flowed and soaked her cheeks

As the heavy snow melts down from the mountain ridges,

snow the West Wind piles there and the warm East Wind thaws

and the snow, melting, swells the rivers to overflow their banks—

so she dissolved in tears, streaming down her lovely cheeks,

weeping for him, her husband, sitting there beside her.

Odysseus’ heart went out to his grief-stricken wife

but under his lids his eyes remained stock-still—

they might have been horn or iron—



his guile fought back his tears.
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