The Adventures of… Ulysses?

09 Aug

Who the fuck is Ulysses, and since when is he ‘the greatest hero the world has ever known’?

Well, a quick check in Wikipedia answered me: Ulysses is the Latin name of Odysseus. Well, that’s not entirely true; my father told me that, and I checked it disbelievingly in Wikipedia afterwards, only to discover that my dad was, as usual, correct.

I don’t know about you, but I’m more familiar with Odysseus than with… What was that again? Ulysses?, which is a new name for me (a most provocative punctuation, I am aware). My dad told me quite a bit about the Odyssey and the Iliad, the Hebrew translations of which are a few feet away from me as we speak (not a good timing for that expression), and I even watched an Arthur episode about a D.W. version of said Odyssey (there is a reason why it is called the Odyssey and not the Ulyssey!).

You may ask yourself, at this point (insert a traditional ‘Yeah, right’ here), ‘Well then, where have you come across the name “The Adventure of Ulysses”, and where is he referred to as “the greatest hero the world has ever known”?’. A very good question indeed, my dear reader!

The faithful readers among you, who leave(s) sarcastic comments just as faithfully, may remember my beloved English teacher, to whom I referred in here, and with whom I have a most complicated love-hate relationship. When I say a love-hate relationship, I don’t, very surprisingly, mean a hate relationship – but a love-hate relationship. You see, while he (O, the chauvinist of me! Why do I assume he is a guy? O, wait, I know he is. But believe me, ma’ ladies, he’s not a great loss) encourages me to read and write (as is seen in the previous link), he also requires either answering very stupid questions about what I need to read, or demand to include many stupid elements in what I need to write, respectively. By himself, he is very dull, well read, boring, most American (no offense to the Americans out there, I just find you very stupid) entity, but as I previously said in here – I don’t love or hate people because of who they are, but because of what they make me feel – and he both makes me happy because he makes me read and write, and makes me most annoyed because I need (ha ha, ‘need’) to deal with his stupid requirements.

Anyhow, the summer assignment he gave us was to read The Adventures of(sneaking a peak at the book besides me)… Ulysses, by… Bernard Evslin? Who? Don’t tell me even Homer has a Latin name? No, the Romans wouldn’t have given him such a Modern name. So who the Hell is this guy who supposedly wrote the Odyssey?

My valued friend Wikipedia helped me to solve this query once again. Apparently, he is a ‘Greek Mythology Adaptor’, which means I’m not even reading some Latin version of the Odyssey, but some stupid adaption of the Odyssey! What a great disgrace! During the book, the author even mentions that the story happened three thousand years ago! O, the shame, and I thought I was about to read a real classic.

Well, the prologue resembles that of the Odyssey Hebrew translation as I recall it. Maybe it won’t be that bad! I can’t fall asleep anyway, I thought, maybe it would help me a little bit. Boring books make you tires, and excellent books make you a bit weary.

After a few quite-interesting pages (fourteen, to be exact), I suddenly remembered my English teacher sent us a few questions about the book. Well, I’ll take a peek, I was thinking.

1. What is the name of the sea in which most of the Greek islands are located?
2. How did it get its name?
3. In which present-day land was Troy located?
4. In which present-day land did the Ciconians live?
5. In which present-day land did the Lotus Eaters live?
6. What is the present-day name of the island where Circe lived?
7. What is the name of the body of water where Scylla lived that separates present-day Sicily from Italy?
8. What is the name of the island where Calypso lived?

Aaaaaaaaaaaah! The Horror!  But that’s not the end. Each chapter has a set of similar questions. For instance:

1. List three advantages and three disadvantages of Greek ships during in Ulysses’s time.
2. What was a major cause of problems for the Greeks returning home after the Trojan War?
3. Explain what you think the author meant by the last sentence in this chapter (p. 3)?
4. Keep this in mind as you read the story: As a leader, Ulysses never asks his men to do something he wouldn’t do. This was considered to be an important (and typical) quality of leaders in ancient Greece. Choose any adventure that illustrates this quality of leadership on the part of Ulysses.
5. Keep this in mind as you read the story: Fate and destiny play a large role in Greek mythology and Greek heroic sagas. Choose any adventure or something someone says that illustrates this.

You know what that means? That after every three fucking pages (the chapters are really short) I need to take a break and answer like five stupid questions. How can you can you enjoy reading like that? Maybe you can, but I find it extremely difficult to luxuriate in a book like that.

You’re probably thinking I’m just whining. You know what? I am. It’s six o’clock in the morning and I haven’t fallen asleep yet, I have about a million stupid questions to answer while reading the Adventure of What’s His Face, and I need to wake up in three hours, get ready, and take the train of nine forty-nine to Tel Aviv and wonder about there with friends all day – which is fun, but a bit hard when you slept three hours the previous night. I guess I could grab a bite. O, wait, it’s the ninth day of Av. I’m fasting.

No, I’m not depressed, just wanted to blubber a little bit. To those of you who wonder, yes. I did lose it. It’s none of your business, though.

Anyway, I recommend reading the Odyssey or some adaption of it, in any language you fancy. It’s supposed to be a great story, as you probably know, and so far this adaption doesn’t disappoint, even though I’d prefer to read the original story.

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Posted by on Tue, 09/Aug/2011 in Musings


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