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Freshmen English Project

Creating Your Own Odyssey

After a semester of writing development, it’s time to put it to use. This project will show
how well you can take Homer’s ideas of a man’s bravery, a boy’s immaturity, and a
family’s reunion and move them into the future.

In the following weeks, as we read through Homer’s Odyssey, you will write your own
odyssey. All of the same elements of the actual story should be included, but the
characters, locations, and situations will be totally up to you. Because you choose these
elements of the story, a great deal of research will be necessary in developing your story.
Creativity will be very helpful in this assignment, and I wish you the best of luck. Use the
following requirements and hints to help you in your quest.
1. The Hero. Create a hero or heroine that should be similar to Odysseus, but who
can have other qualities and characteristics that you choose. Use the notes from
Homer’s story to help you map out your hero/heroine. This character may be
modernized or you may create a hero/heroine that matches some other time
period in history.
2. The time period and location. Choose a conflict or war in history that you
would like to explore. Your story should take place in that time period and
should reflect that period’s cultures, beliefs, and social customs. e.g. You may
set your odyssey in France during the French Revolution or in Saudi Arabia
during the Persian Gulf War. See Page 7 for a list of wars.
3. The Epic. This story should contain all of the elements of the epic adventures as
we have discussed in class. Use your notes and other resources to help guide
4. Length. The odyssey you create will include your typed pages, illustrations,
map, and worksheets for a total of around twelve (12) pages in a one-half-inch
three-ring-binder. Your entire project should be well organized, neatly written
and illustrated.
5. Theme. Your odyssey should be centered on a theme of your choosing. Much
as The Odyssey centers on a son’s development into manhood, a father’s return
home, and a king’s reclaiming of his land, your odyssey should have a central
idea upon which the hero/heroine acts throughout the story. As this is the main
point of your story, it should be developed first.

Note: Other assignments may be included in this total package, with point value
adjustments to the final score.

Page 1 of 8
Overview of Your Odyssey Project
Expository Writing

Utilizing expository paragraphs (two to four sentences), complete this questionnaire

about your character and the heroic journey he/she embarks upon. Then, type up a final
copy for your group.

1. What country did you choose and why did you choose it?

2. What conflict/war was your character involved in? Dates?

3. What is the climate of your country?

4. What is the topography of your country? List mountains, rivers, major bodies
of water, deserts, etc.

5. Name the geographical locations that you chose for your story: cities, towns,
ports, bodies of water, etc.

6. List the types of transportation used during the time of your country’s conflict.

Page 2 of 8
Descriptive Writing

1. Gender _______________________________________
2. Age _______________________________________
3. Height and weight _______________________________________
4. Color of hair, eyes, skin _______________________________________
5. Posture _______________________________________
6. Appearance _______________________________________
7. Defects _______________________________________
8. Heredity _______________________________________

1. Societal class _______________________________________
2. Occupation _______________________________________
3. Education _______________________________________
4. Home life _______________________________________
5. Religion _______________________________________
6. Place in community _______________________________________

1. Values, beliefs _______________________________________
2. Personal goal _______________________________________
3. Temperament _______________________________________
4. Attitude toward life _______________________________________
5. Abilities _______________________________________
6. Qualities _______________________________________
7. Weaknesses or temptations _______________________________________

Once you have finished this rough outline of your hero’s character, choose one
person in your group to write it up as a rough draft by tomorrow. Remember to use as
many details and descriptive words as possible, paint a picture. This will be the basis
upon which your hero/heroine is developed for your odyssey. As a group, edit the rough
draft. Then one person types up the final description of your character. (See page 4 for an
example of this part of the project.)
Provide an illustration of your character.

Page 3 of 8
Sample Writing: Hero Analysis Sketch

Group Member Names…………………………………………………..

Freshman English
Teacher’s Name
Write out the date

“Tom Buchanan, in riding clothes, was standing with his legs apart on the front
porch. He had changed since his New Haven years. Now he was a sturdy, straw haired
man of thirty with a rather hard mouth and a supercilious manner. Two shining, arrogant
eyes had established dominance over his face and gave him the appearance of always
leaning aggressively forward. Not even the effeminate swank of his riding clothes could
hide the enormous power of a body built for adventure - he seemed to fill those glistening
boots until he strained the top lacing and you could see a great pack of muscle shifting
when his shoulder moved under his thin coat. It was a body capable of enormous
leverage - a resolute body.
Life for Tom resided in a resolute belief in divine guidance. Although, in his mind,
he had determined that anyone could determine their own destiny, morality had been
established by divine fiat: irrevocable and penetrating every atom in creation. Therefore,

a quiet calm and gentleness flowed deep within his soul providing a balanced dynamo for
his publicly dominating personality.
His speaking voice, a gruff husky tenor, added to the impression of fractiousness
he displayed. There was a touch of paternal contempt in it, even toward the people he
liked - and there were men at New Haven who had hated his guts.”

Page 4 of 8
Narrative Writing

List the sequence of events that form your hero’s journey. Once this has been
accomplished, one member of your group will choose one event to narrate. The event’s
narration should be multiple paragraphs, but limited to one page (similar to Hero
Analysis Sketch example on Page 4). Provide an illustration of the major conflict in the

Adventure Your odyssey

1. Conscripted to fight in the 1. _______________________________________
Trojan War / background _______________________________________
2. Hero is a war soldier who 2. _______________________________________
does battle with his wits _______________________________________
3. Journeys home 3. _______________________________________
by ship _______________________________________
4. Battles Cicones 4. _______________________________________
5. Eats Lotus flower, and 5. _______________________________________
meets Aeolus _______________________________________
6. Fights Polyphemus 6. _______________________________________
7. Is tempted by Circe 7. _______________________________________
and Calypso _______________________________________

8. Encounters Poseidon, 8. _______________________________________

Teiresias, and Zeus _______________________________________
9. Meets and escapes from 9. _______________________________________
Scylla and Charybdis _______________________________________

10. Homeland is taken 10. _______________________________________

over by strangers _______________________________________
11. Dog lives on 11. _______________________________________
garbage heap _______________________________________
12. Son is insulted, 12. _______________________________________
challenged _______________________________________
13. Hero claims 13. _______________________________________
his home _______________________________________

Page 5 of 8

1. Always use pencil first! Then, write over the pencil in black ink. Last, erase all
pencil marks.
2. Double check spelling. Proof read carefully before you ink your work.
3. Use a ruler to keep your writing straight.
4. Always label horizontally.
5. Label continents, countries, and cities differently.
6. Shade neighboring continents and/or countries different colors.

7. Shade evenly with colored pencil.

8. Keep labeling size consistent.
9. Shade in one direction only.
10. Enlarge carefully and accurately.
11. Use an atlas.
12. Do not abbreviate.
13. Penmanship counts.
14. Keep your map clean.
15. Wrinkle Free!
16. Keep your writing small.
17. Use your class time or you will lose it.

Grading is based on accuracy (enlargement of label placement), neatness (penmanship,

shading, etc.), and FOLLOWING DIRECTIONS.

Page 6 of 8
T Thought, Theme, or Topic
I Imagery, Imagination, or Impression
M Metrics, Movement
E Emotion, empathy, and emphasis of tone

A carefully constructed composition in which each word is important.
Many words have multiple meanings.
Creative use of figurative language: imagery, simile, metaphor, personification,
tone, sounds, irony, symbol, pattern, and details.
An illustration!
Your hero is the main focus of your poem.
Reflective summary of your group’s odyssey
Told from the perspective of a god or goddess
Free verse that uses figurative language
Two ten line stanzas that reflect the hero’s emotion or mood
Do not forget the illustration!

■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ ■

Famous Wars in History

Suggested List of wars to choose from for your odyssey and map
Civil War
Revolutionary War
Korean War
Vietnamese War
Spanish-American War
Persian Gulf War
French Revolution
Celtic Wars
100 Years War
Cold War
Moslems Serbs
Ireland/Britain (Protestant Catholic)
Israeli Arab Conflict
Vikings (Norse)
Boxer Rebellion
War of the Roses

Page 7 of 8
Grading Sheet: Create Your Own Epic -- Binder Evaluation

List Group Member’s Names ______________________________________________

I. Title Page 6 7 8 9 10
Title, member names, period
Creative, colorful illustration

II. Table of Contents 6 7 8 9 10

Formatted correctly (follows the Grading Sheet example for numbers and titles)
Contains all elements of the packet

III. Overview 18 21 24 27 30
1 1/2 to 2 page description
Clearly shows connection between story and history
Six Traits of Writing

IV. Hero Analysis Sketch 18 21 24 27 30

1 page description, multiple paragraphs
Describes epic qualities
Fits your time period
Six Traits of Writing
Illustration on a separate page

V. Gods, Monsters, Temptations 18 21 24 27 30

1 page narration of one event
Effective narration of the conflict
Six Traits of Writing
Illustration of the hero’s conflict on a separate page

VI. Map 18 21 24 27 30
Shows where the adventure takes place
Charts the hero’s travels in sequential order
Neat, colored, easy to read

VII. Poem 18 21 24 27 30
Minimum of 20 lines, two stanzas
Contains at least two similes or metaphors, and personification
Reflects the hero’s emotions or moods
Six Traits of Writing

VIII. Deductions

IX. Scoring
Project Score ________ / 170

Individual Attendance and Participation ________ / 100

TOTAL ________ / 270

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