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The Odyssey is a classic piece of literature. Most people know how the story goes, but only a handful of those people have read and deeply discussed the story. The truth is, most people (mainly from inexperience) feel that the story of Odysseus and his journey is not relevant to high school students of the 21st century. They believe that there is nothing to learn from reading the book that can help students in the long run. But just because many people think The Odyssey is can not benefit high school students doesn’t make it so. The Odyssey contains many life lessons and morals, but the most important thing that should be learned from The Odyssey is “never give up”. The Odyssey contains the life lesson never give up and therefore should continue to be included in the GBN Curriculum.
Think back to all the times you never gave up. I bet that at least thirty percent of those times are/were in high school, the most important part of a student’s life. High school students face many problems every day and learning to never give up is a very important thing for students learn. Many of the characters in The Odyssey never give up, take the main character Odysseus, for example. When he and his ship are bombarded with an enormous wave his ship crashes and he falls into the water. With his crew dead from the crash he is all alone. “Fighting out from the breakers pointing toward the coast, out of danger [Odysseus] swam on, scanning the land, trying to find a sea-beach shelving against the waves, a sheltered cove, and stroking hard he came abreast of a rivers mouth.” (166 lines: 483-486) After three days floating on a piece of his wrecked ship Odysseus does not give up on making it to shore. High school students can relate to this because they face many difficult challenges. Finals, relationships, collage preparation, are some of the many examples of obstacles high schoolers have to face, and learning to never give up can help them overcome their obstacles.
High School is a very important part of a students life, but as they become older students will face many other challenges challenges during their life. Collage Graduation, Starting a family, and buying a home, are all challenges that students will have to face. If one of those challenges becomes a obstacle, students have to know to never give up. By reading The Odyssey they can see all the places “never give up” appears, they will start to compare Odysseus’s problems (reuniting family, taking care of unwanted visitors, and overcoming hubris) with what they will have to face as they grow up. Another example of Odysseus never giving up is when he and his crew are trapped in the cyclops’ cave. They create a plan to blind the cyclops “Now at last I thrust our steak in a bed of embers to get it red hot […] just as the olive steak was about to catch fire, I dragged it from the flames, my men clustering around as some god breathed courage into us all. Hoisting high that olive steak with its stabbing point, straight into the monster’s eye they rammed it hard.” (223 Lines: 420-428) This quote shows that Odysseus had to not give up when he in his crew were in danger they still thought up of a plan to escape the hands of the cyclops that trapped them.
“Never give up.” A simple phrase, but an important one. I am not sure why after so many years of teaching the GBN Curriculum people suddenly think that The Odyssey is not relevant to the 21st century but they are wrong. I hope that writing this paper can convince them that The Odyssey is a very important book and is relevant to the students of GBN. “Never give up” is a crucial lesson for students to learn and the odyssey shows it. Even if students don’t like to read it or get bored of active reading, I think The Odyssey should continue to be included in the GBN Curriculum.
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