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LITERATURE CIRCLES

Discussion Director
Name: ________________________________
Text: ________________________________
Date: ________________________________
Books: ________________________________

Discussion Director: Reading Homer's epics alone can pose a challenge as one tries to
untangle all the details and allusions of the lines. Even in a group setting, one needs a
guide to facilitate the discussion. Your task is to develop a list of questions for your group
to discuss about the assigned text. Asking each member for his input based on his
current role. Your task is to help people talk about the "big ideas" in the reading and
share their reactions. Usually, the best discussion questions come from your own
thoughts, feelings and concerns as you read, which you can list below, during or after
your reading. Think of THICK questions (as opposed to THIN ones) because they
generate deeper thought and discussion and do not have quick answers that can be
found in the text. Some words that can be used to start a “puzzler” or “open” questions
are: “Why…? How…? Have you wondered…? In what ways…? Can you think of an
example of…? What if…? Could/should/would…? If this story happened…? Does s/he
mean that…?”

Possible Discussion Questions:

1. Do you think it was smart for Athena to opt that Zeus make all future
leaders harsh, rash individuals? Does the negative experience of Odysseus
justify her argument?
2. How did your impression of Kalypso change, if it changed, after her kind
and hospitable treatment of Hermes (and later, Odysseus) and her
emotional words about how unfair conditions are for female goddesses?
3. What can you say about Odysseus when he rejected the suggestion of a
goddess, Ino, to abandon his raft?
4. What positive qualities of man were revealed in Odysseus’ treacherous
journey across sea? Note how Homer writes detailed accounts of Odysseus’
thought process. (See line 408) Similar qualities are shown in his first
encounter with Nausikaa (See line 141)
LITERATURE CIRCLES
5. Poseidon’s aversion to Odysseus is still referenced in chapters V to VIII.
With new insight on Odysseus’ character, why do you think they have this
kind of relationship?
6. What human qualities can be seen in Odysseus’ dealings with Nausikaa?
7. How do the Phaiakians Odysseus encounters differ from the Spartans
Telemachus encounters?
8. How does Loadamas and Euryalos represent the attitude of young people
at the time?
9. What does the inclusion of the story of Ares, Aphrodite, and Hephaestus in
Demodokos’ singing hint at?
10. What facet of his humanity does Odysseus show when he constantly
laments over the songs of Demodokos? Why do you think he cries over
these things when some stories, like the one of the Trojan Horse, were
achievements of his?