Jourody Journey of Homer's Odyssey, Joyce's Ulysses and Walcott's Omeros
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The Journey of Homer's Odyssey, Joyce's Ulysses and Walcott's Omeros
This essay explores how the theme of the journey, pervasive in Homer's Odyssey, find expression in James Joyce's Ulysses (1922) and Derrick Walcott's Omeros (1990), epics written in very different historical periods. Common to all three epics is a plot structure that involves a protagonist who longs for home but who must first endure a life-altering change before he returns. The theme of the "journey" provokes an image of both a natural and spiritual quest occurring simultaneously, both significantly viable because each passage contributes equally to the manifestation of the maturing male identity.
Homer's Odyssey, captures the essence of the "journey", a word signifying the movement from one place to another, by juxtaposing Odysseus's palpable journey against his spiritual one. Odysseus attempts to navigate at sea the ships and crew from Troy to Ithaca while a number of nymphs and demons make obstacles that impede his success. Both visible and invisible, the journeys produce a change in Odysseus that ensure his maturity into manhood before he returns to his wife, Penelope, in Ithaca.
Odysseus's journey begins at home where a summons to war prompts him to leave Ithaca for Troy. Odysseus and Penelope have a newborn son they name Telemachus. The war lasts ten years. Ending when Odysseus leaves a belly full of soldiers in a wooden horse at the beach before the enemy's compound. Thinking it a gift from the Greeks, the Trojan's roll it in and before dawn, a final siege occurs that ends the war. Smug and accomplished about the downfall, Odysseus sets sail for Ithaca. War inflicts Odysseus with a primordial disposition, and ...
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...ort van he names the "Comet." Philoctete, a native African-Caribbean nurses a festering wound on his shin caught by a rusty anchor while timbering. A journey in a metaphor that denotes the survival and recovery of the African-Caribbean culture, spirit and mind after colonialism.
Campbell, Joseph. Mythic Worlds, Modern Words: On the Art of James Joyce. New York: Harper Collins, 1993.
Mamner, Robert D. Epic of the Dispossessed: Derek Walcott's Omeros. Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 1997.
Hexter, Ralph. A Guide to The Odyssey: A Commentary on the English Translation of Robert Fitzgerald. New York: Random House, 1993.
Homer. The Odyssey. Trans. Robert Fitzgerald. New York: Random House, 1990.
Joyce, James. Ulysses. New York: Random House, 1986.
Walcott, Derek. Omeros. New York: Harper Collins, 1990.