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ERIC Number: EJ1002953
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012-Sep
Pages: 6
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 5
ISSN: ISSN-0013-8274
Odysseus Deconstructed: Crossing the Threshold into Critical Thinking
Howell, Emily Nicole
English Journal, v102 n1 p61-66 Sep 2012
In a thematic study she calls The Hero's Journey, the author introduces the classical archetype of the hero and the journey of the hero with Homer's "The Odyssey." After all, the wily tactician dreams up the idea for the wooden horse trick, thereby winning the war for the Greeks. He visits hell and, against all odds, makes it back. He defeats the barbarous Cyclops, evades the seductive Sirens, and survives the terrifying Scylla and Charybdis. He has the unhealable wound, possesses a wondrous weapon, and even restores peace to his kingdom. There should be no question that he is indeed a hero; however, thousands of years later, in the author's ninth graders' eyes, the epic hero falls far, far short of what a hero should be--regardless of how well he fits the classical criteria. In this article, the author shares how her students use text annotations and other critical reading strategies to evaluate heroic and unheroic characters in "The Odyssey." The goal for this unit is for the students to struggle through a difficult text--to essentially begin a journey of their own to discover what true heroism is. (Contains 1 figure.)
National Council of Teachers of English. 1111 West Kenyon Road, Urbana, IL 61801-1096. Tel: 877-369-6283; Tel: 217-328-3870; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Grade 9
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A