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The Odyssey Chapter 1-4

Starting the Odyssey with Telemachus is a very interesting choice. In a book that is about the journey of Odysseus, his son Telemachus is introduced first. This action gives Telemachus an important role in the story. If the Odyssey began with Odysseus, Telemachus’s role in the epic would be overshadowed. We are almost forced to worry about Telemachus and his mother, Penelope because we were introduced to them and the problems they face without Odysseus early on. If the epic began with Odysseus, the reader’s main concern may be for him, and not his life back home. Although Odysseus is the main character, introducing the novel with Telemachus gives him the voice he deserves. He was given the time he needed to transform for the boy Odysseus left, to a man, unafraid to find his father and protect his mother from the suitors. In the beginning, all we know is from Telemachus’ point of view. We learn about his father from his perspective and what has happened up until this point. This is an interesting way to give the reader information because the main character has no say in his description. Everything we know about Odysseus could be completely different from how Odysseus would describe himself. As readers, we are in the dark as much as Telemachus, unaware if Odysseus is alive or dead. We are able to take this blind journey with him as he begins his search for answers. Telemachus’ start also grows anticipation for Odysseus’ arrival. As readers, we have been hearing about this mysterious man, that we know little information about, and Telemachus’s introduction gets readers excited to meet Odysseus. This builds up suspense that will keep the reader intrigued and making Odysseus’ appearance a big deal. Telemachus’ start is important because it creates the base work for all that is to come in this exciting epic.

I think the Odyssey starts where it does because it is designed to confuse the reader. We are just starting the novel, but somehow we are already lost. As humans, we hate the unknown, so we keep reading to find out what is going on. The Odyssey challenges the normal narrative of beginning, middle, and end. It starts in the middle of the story and then will later fill in the background information we might need to know. The reader is hooked right off the bat because they have questions and won’t stop reading until they are answered. It is exciting to start in the middle of things because we are already involved in the action. Often the beginning of a novel can drag on and readers get bored. But the Odyssey avoids this by sticking the reader right in the middle of the story. In a sense, we are on a journey to the end and lost just like Odysseus. The start also gives me a sense of urgency, like there is no time to waste, Odysseus must be found and returned home before everything comes crashing down. I am often discouraged by large books and if it doesn’t grab my attention from the start, I find it hard to continue. However, the Odyssey intrigues me and I am excited to read the next few chapters. I think the Odyssey does a great job with where it started. I feel like if not done correctly, a reader could be too overwhelmed and confused that they don’t want to continue. But the Odyssey gives the reader the right amount of information and still that mystery that keeps the reader wanting more.

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