Lord of the Flies

by William Golding

The Hired Girl

Laura Amy Schlitz

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The Odyssey

The Odyssey

Author: Homer

Year: 700*

Famous for: Monsters, meddling gods, and some major bloodbaths.

Main character: Odysseus, who spends ten years just trying to get home.

The scoop:

If you’re in high school now, or you’ve ever been through high school, you can relate to Homer’s Odyssey. Seriously! It may be written in verse and it may be a gazillion lines long. It may go on and on and ON about monsters and gods and family lineages and Greek hospitality. But what this epic poem is really about is one of the cornerstones of the high school experience: Homecoming.

OK, so Homer’s tale doesn’t involve football (though you can look forward to a number of other athletic feats) but it does involve a king and queen—the warrior Odysseus, and his steadfast wife, Penelope. Odysseus really wants to get back home to Ithaca, but he encounters some trouble on his return trip. Ten years’-worth of trouble, to be exact. But finally, thanks to his strength and cunning and some intervention by the goddess Athena, Odysseus does make it back home.

Be forewarned: Even after Odysseus docks his ship at Ithaca, his journey still isn’t over. He’s got a bunch of drunken suitors to defeat before he can reclaim his beloved wife. But just consider this last portion of the poem another familiar high school tale: After a whole lot of drama, the guy and the girl will, eventually, get (back) together.

*(B.C.E) The year it was probably written.


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