8th Grade Fitz English
Odyssey Reflective Paragraph
“Oh I knew it!”
Broadsea broke in, mocking him to his face.
“I never took you for someone skilled in games,
the kind that real men play throughout the world.
Not a chance. You’re some skipper of profiteers,
roving the high seas in his scudding craft,
reckoning up his freight with a keen eye out
for home-cargo, grabbing the gold he can!
You’re no athlete. I see that."
[The Odyssey, Book VIII Lines 183-189]
We all face challenges in our everyday lives. It’s how we respond that defines us. Odysseus’s journey is a series of challenges that he must face and conquer. What makes The Odyssey memorable is when he faces these challenges, he is not always a heroic or stone-hearted figure. These challenges take many forms; some threatening his life, some preventing him from reaching his native Ithaca at last, and some to maintain his pride and ego. In Book VIII, Odysseus comes across the challenge of arrogance and boast, when the young princes of Phaeacia challenge Odysseus to sporting events in such a reckless way that Odysseus must accept their challenge to keep his pride. This part of the epic connects to my life, in a way. A boy in my Max Hockey Skills group on Sundays is continuously challenging me with aggressive acts, taunting me, calling me obscene names, putting my gear in the trash. Classic bullying stuff. He has even had the nerve to try some of the same behaviors with my dad, both when I am there and when I’m not. Clearly, he is not in his right mind. Telling him to stop is like Telemachus telling the suitors to leave Odysseus’s castle and not eat his livestock. Even though he is smaller and younger, and I know he is not worth my time and attention, a part of me feels that I must confront his challenges or I will have to continue to endure his verbal abuse. The coaches tell me they know what is happening, that this boy behaves this way all the time. But trying to taunt my dad is crossing the line even farther. I have made my feelings known to this person, but he has not changed his behavior or actions. He is acting like the princes, pushing Odysseus closer and closer to the edge of his patience, until they provoke a response. In fact, I will be seeing this antagonist this afternoon. As I write this reflection I have realized I have to rise to the challenge and take the necessary steps to bring this to a non-violent or non-physical end. How I choose to meet the challenge will define me, in a way.
I feel angry writing this. I don’t understand why anybody would want to enrage or bully, and it happens often enough that it deserves the attention it gets. Doing things in good fun is one thing, but too many people don’t realize when they’ve crossed the line.