A myth is a story that embodies a particular conception of the human condition. In the Odyssey, life is represented as a journey. Mythology scholar Joseph Campbell thought all myths followed a similar journey, which he believed symbolically expressed deep truths about human psychology. For Campbell myths are a way we learn to be human and to deal with the ordinary challenges of life and society. For more about Campbell’s theory, see Matthew Winkler’s animated video “What makes a hero?” in this week’s Recommended Multimedia Resources.
This journal assignment explores the relevance of the literary texts we are reading to our own lives. This week, as we read the about the journey of Odysseus, we might consider our own journeys. In two to three pages, describe one obstacle that Odysseus meets in his journey. What is the obstacle and how does he overcome it? Making connections to your own life, discuss a situation when you faced and overcame an obstacle in one of your own journeys that came between you and your destination. You may interpret this journey symbolically, for example, a journey to yourself (your own personal identity), back to your family or heritage, or one to follow a dream. In keeping within the three page limit, be sure to focus on essential points in both your journey and that of Odysseus.