Day 51: Calypso

Today our schedule went thus:

1. WordSkills 3.11-3.15. We discussed such rousing words as metacognition, misanthrope, misogynist, and occlude. Many students offered personal anecdotes to explain the word misjudge.

2. Calypso Reading Question Review. In small groups, students shared homework answers and presented the best answers to the class before turning in the homework. Our answers led to an interesting discussion on Odysseus’ logic when he explains to Calypso that yes, indeed, she is more beautiful than Penelope, his wife: “My quiet Penelope would seem a shade before your majesty… Yet, it is true, each day I long for home,” (Holt 654) or in the Fagles, “[Penelope] falls far short of you, your beauty, stature. … Nevertheless I long–I pine, all my days–to travel home…” (Fagles 159). In each instance, he essentially says, “I think you, Calypso, are more beautiful, BUT I also miss home.” The conjunction BUT would make the reader think that Odysseus would say something like, “I think you are more beautiful, but I love Penelope more.” Odysseus knows this would make Calypso mad (or more depressed!), and, in his “worldly” (Fagles 159) or “strategi[zing]” (Holt 654) way, Odysseus avoids the subject by replacing the word “Penelope” with the word “home.” Replacing one word with a word that is connected to it by proximity is called “metonymy,” which Odysseus uses to dodge Calypso’s question. Cunning, indeed.

3. “Calypso” by Suzanne Vega. We began a venn diagram comparing Odysseus’ thoughts and feelings to those of Calypso at this point in the poem. Students completed this while listening to “Calypso” by Suzanne Vega, which tells the story from Calypso’s point of view. Listen to it here on lastfm:

HW: Read “The Meeting of Father and Son” for Monday. Take notes on stickies and answer reading questions.

“The Meeting of Father and Son” p. 690-694

Reading and questions due Monday 11/9

This episode occurs after Odysseus has arrived on Ithaca, secretly. He has been staying with a servant and has kept his identity concealed. No one on Ithaca knows Odysseus has returned.

Answer the following questions on a separate piece of paper in order to be prepared for class.

  1. When Telemachus enters the swineherd’s hut, the swineherd goes up to hug him as Odysseus watches on, in disguise as a beggar. What is ironic about the description on page 691, lines 946-954? (Fagles: page 339, lines 16-25)
  2. How does Telemachus first respond when Odysseus tells him that he is Telemachus’ father? (693) Why?
  3. Make up your own question and try to answer it. The question should either be about something you don’t understand or a probing discussion question with no clear right answer.

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