• If you are citizen of an European Union member nation, you may not use this service unless you are at least 16 years old.

  • Stop wasting time looking for files and revisions. Connect your Gmail, DriveDropbox, and Slack accounts and in less than 2 minutes, Dokkio will automatically organize all your file attachments. Learn more and claim your free account.


Unit 3 Greek Myth and the Hero Journey

Page history last edited by Russell 9 years, 9 months ago

Greek Mythology and the Hero's Journey


Tue, Nov 30 (for third period, Nov 30 and Dec 1 are reversed)


DUE TODAY: By end of period, "O Brother and the Hero's Journey" project

HOMEWORK TONIGHT: Find a couple children's books at home, if there are any. Bring them!

FOCUS TODAY: Completing "O Brother and the Hero's Journey" project


Last day in computer lab for "O Brother and the Hero's Journey" project



On Nov 9 you were assigned to make a "Hero Journey Visual" for a movie or book of your choice. This assignment may be in your yellow classroom folder, or it may be unfinished in some other notebook. Either way, check out the Hero Journey Visual once again and attempt to track a hero from a film or story using the hero journey visual/template. BE NEAT AND TIDY!!



Mon, Nov 29


DUE TODAY: Nothing

HOMEWORK: One last day in the computer lab tomorrow for the "O Brother and the Hero's Journey" project



Review of the notes you took on the film - a chart to record your performance on the notes


“Movie Checklist”


Copious notes on ALL the questions

Good notes, some questions answered more than others

Some notes, perhaps not all questions answered, or all are answered minimally

Day One




Day Two




Day Three




Day Four




Day Five





Charts collected and scores entered into the computer


Thu, Nov 18 and Fri, Nov 19


DUE TODAY: Nothing


FOCUS TODAY: In-class work on the  "O Brother and the Hero's Journey" project


The project DUE DATE is MONDAY by the end of the period


Wed, Nov 17


DUE TODAY: Nothing


FOCUS TODAY: Apparent defeat/resurrection, "The magic flight"


All seems won, but there are still forces working against the hero. Once again, he comes face-to-face with death. Whereas he has "poo-pooed" God in the past (just like Odysseus defied the gods), he prays sincerely and is delivered.


Here is the "O Brother and the Hero's Journey" project


Tue, Nov 16


DUE TODAY: Nothing


FOCUS TODAY: Belly of the whale, apparent defeat/resurrection


Our hero and his allies find themselves far away from what is routine, deep in the darkness and fires of ...

Just after our hero recovers from apparent defeat, he is once again in danger of death. His "treasure" rejects him and the law is about to take him away. Just at the right time, he manages to escape again to re-take his "throne."


Mon, Nov 15


DUE TODAY: Nothing


FOCUS TODAY: The "woman as temptress" and the Cyclops


Whereas the previous day's viewing involved supernatural interference that AIDED the hero, today's interference HINDERS the hero and exposes his weakness.


  • Look for "the woman as temptress" - how are the heroes led astray by the washer-women? What "special powers" do the women have? (Hint: There are three distinct powers.) What weakness is exposed?
  • Look for the Cyclopes. What is his supernatural "gift" that allows him to overpower the men? What weakness is exposed in Everett?
  • Lastly: There is a parallel between characters in the film and characters in the Odyssey. HOWEVER, since this is a comedy, the film makers twist events from the Odyssey for humorous effect. How are the "suitors" from the original used for a laugh in today's scene w/ Vernon T. Waldrip?


Fri, Nov 12


DUE TODAY: Nothing, but I WILL collect a formal "hero's journey" assignment by Wed of next week!

HOMEWORK TONIGHT: None, but finish the "hero's journey" assignment

FOCUS TODAY: "Supernatural interference"


Today's scenes involve supernatural interference. Recall that a hero at times needs help from beings with special powers that enable the hero to continue on his journey. Look for those characteristics in the following:


Tommy the guitar player

George "Babyface" Nelson the robber


Wed, Nov 10


DUE TODAY: Nothing

HOMEWORK TONIGHT/WEEKEND: Now that you have taken notes on the hero's quest (the typical eight requirements) and hero's journey (the circular visual), trace the HERO'S JOURNEY of a character of your choice: film hero, novel hero, children's story hero, comic book hero, etc.

FOCUS  TODAY: The hero's journey in film


Today we begin viewing "O Brother, Where Art Thou" - a modern update to the epic journey of Odysseus in Homer's epic poem "The Odyssey"


Work on matching elements of the film to elements of the hero's journey - click HERE for the assignment


Film viewing, day one:

  1. Identify the names of the characters and the goal or aim of each
    1. There are three main characters - what personality/physical traits distinguish them? 
  2. What is the main conflict in the film?
    1. The main characters have immediate goals and a long term goal as well; make note of both 
  3. What traits does Everett have that qualify him as “beyond the norm?”
    1. He does have "special powers" - what can he do that you notice the others cannot/do not?
  4. What “supernatural interference” has occurred to (miraculously) help or hinder the quest?
    1. What figure helps them in their quest after they fail to board the train for escape?
    2. What unique characteristics does this figure possess? 
    3. What information does that figure provide them?
    4. As they try to rest in the barn of Cousin Wash, someone finds them - what god does the lawman seem to reflect? 


Tue, Nov 9


DUE TODAY: Nothing


FOCUS TODAY: Hero's journey visual and practice


5-minute usage rule: compliment vs complement


Click here for the Hero Journey Visual


Students copy the visual to have as a reference for themselves during the viewing of "O Brother, Where Art Thou?"


Attempt to track a hero from a film or story using the hero journey visual/template


Mon, Nov 8 = Test corrections


Fri, Nov 5 = Mid-term exams


Wed-Thu, Nov 3-4



  • One paragraph written on how part of Odysseus' journey meets a requirement of the traditional hero cycle


  • Study for the mid-term
  • Get a parent/guardian to sign the MAPS results

FOCUS TODAY: Review for mid-term AND interpreting MAPS scores


MAPS test scores are returned and assessed. If absent, see the teacher for your score sheet.


Review for the mid-term:

  • Powerpoint review
  • Daily usage/grammar tips and an extremely helpful sample test
  • For each story, know the protagonist(s) and antagonist(s)
  • For each story, know the main conflict and the type of conflict
  • For each story, know the climactic point, and how the conflict ends at that point
  • Know the three types of irony and be able to identify them in each story
  • Know the eight components of the hero cycle, and be able to identify them in the examples on your notes
  • Know how to create then justify an epithet for a real person
  • Know the epic similes in "The Odyssey"
  • Know how to draw a plot chart for "The Sniper" 


Tue, Nov 2


DUE TODAY: Nothing

HOMEWORK TONIGHT: Finish the last of the three paragraphs on your own - we did two in class

FOCUS TODAY: Organization in body paragraphs


The new essay assignment is to prove that Odysseus' journey qualifies him as a "true" hero. Since we know he is a hero, it's just a matter of selecting three strong qualities of the hero's journey (from yesterday's notes) to discuss.


Each class selected three components of the hero's journey from yesterday's notes. Each component will become its own body paragraph. Mr. Rice then followed the I DO - WE DO - YOU DO pattern to illustrate good construction in body paragraphs. The NOTES FOLLOW:

Period Two Notes:

Get out a new, blank piece of paper. Today we’re writing, writing, writing. You’ll finish with a decent paragraph or two on Odysseus and his heroic traits. Have your notes on the hero journey/cycle from yesterday to the side.

  • ·         Name, date
  • ·         Title it “Is Odysseus a Hero? Of Course!”

I do, we do, you do = 3 paragraphs on Odysseus meeting the requirements of a “true” hero.

Choose THREE heroic traits and compare them to Odysseus in order to evaluate if he “qualifies” as a hero. We already know he is, so I want to choose ones that I can prove he satisfies.

Qualities for discussion

  1. Supernatural abilities/qualities
    1. Clever/cunning - Does not immediately go to the palace b/c he would be attacked/killed by the suitors, instead pauses to think/pln
  2. Physical strength - Drives the spike into the Cyclopes’ eye
  3. Leadership - Goes by himself to Circe’s palace to rescue his own men
  4. Seems at a low point/about to give up/almost defeated
    1. Cyclops cave
    2. Circe
    3. Underworld
  5. Tests to prove worthiness
    1. Lesson on anger to his son, and he follows his own advice by being patient w/ getting revenge on the suitors

Typical outline for this body paragraph:

1)      Topic sentence – has the heroic trait and the CLAIM that Odysseus meets that requirement. Ex: A final test for any hero would be to prove their worthiness many times. Odysseus meets this requirement.

2)      Transition to the story summary. Ex: A hero must undergo tests to prove his/her worthiness. Although Odysseus faces many tests, one that makes him appear especially heroic happens when he returns home to Ithaca.

3)      Summarize from the poem the part that is relevant in about two-three sentences. Ex: When he returns, he learns there are many suitors seeking his wife and throne. They pose a danger, as they outnumber him and could kill him. Odysseus chooses to stay away from the palace to plan how to approach this difficult situation.

4)      Explain how that part relates to the point you’re making. Here, the point is that he proves his worthiness by facing the test successfully. Ex: If Odysseus had gone straight to the palace, he would likely have been killed. He proves he is a hero by remaining patient and carefully considering his options. In the end, he gets revenge by being angry “at the right person, and the right time, and for the right reason.”

5)      Summarize quickly what #3 and 4 should reveal to the reader. Ex: In this scene, Odysseus’ patience is tested; if he had acted without patience, he may have been killed. Instead, he shows he is a hero through patience and careful planning.  


Sample paragraph on how O proves his worthiness in a test:


A final test for any hero would be to prove their worthiness many times; Odysseus meets this requirement. A hero must undergo tests to prove his/her worthiness. Although Odysseus faces many tests, one that makes him appear especially heroic happens when he returns home to Ithaca. When he returns, he learns there are many suitors seeking his wife and throne. They pose a danger, as they outnumber him and could kill him. Odysseus chooses to stay away from the palace to plan how to approach this difficult situation. If Odysseus had gone straight to the palace, he would likely have been killed. He proves he is a hero by remaining patient and carefully considering his options. In the end, he gets revenge by being angry “at the right person, and the right time, and for the right reason.” In this scene, Odysseus’ patience is tested; if he had acted without patience, he may have been killed. Instead, he shows he is a hero through patience and careful planning.  


Paragraph Two: “We do”

The hero at some point must appear defeated – Cyclopes episode

TOPIC SENTENCE: Another requirement of the hero is that he/she must appear defeated at some point in their journey. TRANSITION TO AN EXAMPLE FROM THE STORY: One particular scene where Odysseus’ journey seems doomed involves the Cyclopes. SUMMARY: As Odysseus and his men explore the Cyclopes’ island, they enter a cave and find sheep and food made from their milk. The Cyclopes then returns to his cave and closes the entrance with an enormous boulder. When the Cyclopes discovers the men, he eats some of them. When he goes to sleep, Odysseus considers killing him, but realizes if he does, they would all be trapped. EXPLANATION OF HOW HE APPEARS DEFEATED: There are two ways in which Odysseus appears defeated in this scene. First, the giant slab of rock blocking the entrance cannot be moved; therefore, they are trapped inside. Also inside with them is the Cyclopes, who has an appetite for men. Therefore, the second way he appears defeated is that his fate looks to be “food” for the Cyclopes. WRAP IT UP: In this one simple scene, it appears Odysseus is defeated by the Cyclopes because the men are trapped and the Cyclopes will likely eat them.


Period Three Notes:

Choices for exploration/discussion

  1. Supernatural abilities/qualities
    1. Cleverness/ingenuity – gets out of cave w/ Cyclopes, deal w/ Circe to protect himself from enchantment
    2. Courage/bravery – goes by himself to retrieve his men (who had been turned to swine), only takes a dozen men to explore the Cyclopes’ island
    3. Physical strength – drives/drills the spike into the C’s eye
    4. Leadership capability – encourages men when facing Scylla, encourages them when driving the spike
  2. Tests to prove his/her worthiness
    1. Cyclopes
    2. Circe
    3. Sirens/Scylla/Charybdis
    4. Return home/revenge at suitors
  3. Presence of mythical beings/animals/weapons
    1. Athena helps him w/ a disguise when he returns home
    2. Cyclopes (mythical beast)
    3. Sirens (mythical beast)
    4. Hermes’ delivery of a holy potion to counteract Circe’s potion


General paragraph outline:

TOPIC SENTENCE: (Claim that O meets this particular requirement) Ex: Finally, Odysseus’ journey is filled with many mythical creatures, potions, and gods. Their presence clearly qualifies his journey as the journey of a true hero.

SUMMARY FROM THE TEXT: Ex: At one point in the story, Odysseus leave his ship to rescue his men from Circe’s palace. He goes alone toward danger – she turned his men to swine. On his way, he is met by the messenger of the gods Hermes, who offers him a potion and advice for how to deal with Circe.

EXPLANATION OF HOW THIS QUALIFIES UNDER THAT HERO’S STEP: (In this case, we must prove that the events were magical/supernatural). Ex: There are many elements of magic present. The first is the turning of his men to swine – he goes with hope to rescue them. The second is the arrival of a god with a potion. Hermes presence is a magical help to Odysseus. The potion he brings can magically counteract the effects of Circe’s own potion.

WRAP UP: Ex: The presence of magical potions, gods, and witches all help Odysseus journey qualify as one of a true hero.



Tests of worthiness

T.S.> Odysseus has many places in the text where he proves his worthiness, and one especially good example is when he returns home to Ithaca.

SUMMARY> When O arrives home, he learns that since he has been gone, many suitors have come seeking his wife and throne. Odysseus believes these men attempt to take away his world and life, and he wants revenge on them. Yet he realizes that if he rushes to revenge he will likely be killed by these men. Instead, he carefully plans what to do to take his revenge.

EXPLANATION> Odysseus demonstrates two strong heroic characteristics here: patience and cleverness; both help him. He shows patience by waiting away from the palace to plan his entry and revenge; in staying away he avoids danger from the suitors. His patience allows him to come up with his clever plan, the second trait. He uses the disguise from Athena to scout the palace to see how he can take revenge.

WRAP UP> His patience and cleverness are two strong qualities that show through on his return to Ithaca and qualify him as a true hero; he is worthy.

Period SIX Notes:

Choose THREE of the eight hero journey requirements that O strongly satisfies

1)      Hero has supernatural abilities or qualities

a)      Brave/courageous – goes alone to face Circe to save his men; when approaching Scylla, he takes the spears and goes to the front of the ship

b)      Physical strength – stabs and spins the giant spear into C’s eye

c)      Cleverness – comes up w/ the plan to escape the Cyclopes; makes Circe swear she won’t try any further enchantment

d)      Leadership – encourages his men to be brave w/ the spike; encourages them to row and focus when approaching Scylla

2)      Hero tested to prove his worthiness

a)      Cyclops episode – bravery, cleverness, strength, leadership

b)      Circe episode – bravery, leadership, cleverness

c)      Sirens/Scylla/Charybdis – leadership, bravery

3)      Mythical creatures


Mythical creatures paragraph:

TOPIC SENTENCE: <main point > Ex: Odysseus meets the requirement of a true hero by experiencing the presence and influence of magical and mythical creatures.

TRANSITION TO THE SUMMARY: Ex: One particular place in the story where many mythical creatures appear is when Odysseus sails from Circe’s palace.

SUMMARY: Ex: As Odysseus sails, he must first face the sirens, creatures that sing and lure sailors to their death. To face this challenge, he is tied to the mast while his crew plug their ears with wax.

EXPLAIN HOW IT’S RELATE TO OUR POINT: (in this case, how it’s mythical/magical): Ex: The sirens were mythical creatures that sang sweetly. He overcame them with the advice from Circe, the witch. Therefore, the woman with magic gives him the advice to overcome the mythical creature. Mortals could not pass by without knowledge of how to overcome their song.

WRAP UP:  Ex: The fact that a magical witch gives advice to overcome a mythical creature shows that Odysseus’ journey is helped by magical/mythical beings.



WE DO: Hero is tested to prove his/her worthiness

TS: One requirement of a hero is that they are tested for their worthiness. O faces many tests and proves his worthiness repeatedly. TRANSITION: One such place in “The Odyssey” is when Odysseus faces Circe. SUMMARY: Odysseus receives a report that his men have been turned to swine by the witch Circe. He immediately departs by himself to save his men from the goddess. On his way he receives a potion that makes him immune to her magic, and when faced with her dangerous magic, he makes her swear she will not try any magic on him. This gains him access to her bed, and she then frees his men. EXPLANATION (of how he proved worthy): In this episode, the first heroic quality he shows is bravery by heading into danger with no assistance.  In addition, this is good leadership because he shows his concern for his men. When at Circe’s palace, his cleverness comes through: Before she can try any more magic on him, he forces her to swear she will not use any. Because of this clever move, he secures his own safety and the release of his men. WRAP UP: In this episode, he proves himself worthy as a hero by using bravery, leadership, and cleverness to overcome the test of Circe.





Mon, Nov 1


DUE TODAY: Nothing


FOCUS TODAY: The hero's journey/cycle


We make a list of assignments to be recorded in the grade book. These assignments include class notes, reading questions, etc. for the past two weeks of "The Odyssey":

  1. 10/21 Six in-class Qs on hero traits and Greek values from the opening of "The Odyssey"
  2. 10/22 Location of Greek values in the Cyclopes episode - class notes
  3. 10/25 Class notes on epic simile and epithet - examples/notes from the text
  4. 10/26 Ten reading questions on the Circe episode - listened to audio in class
  5. 10/27 Pg. 939 #2, 3 - answers required to contain explanation
  6. 10/27 Outline of the dangers Circe says Odysseus will face - Sirens, Scylla, Charybdis, etc.
  7. 10/28 Video viewing questions - watched conclusion on video in class


Introduction of the typical steps of the hero cycle/journey, with examples given from film and literature

  1. Main character/hero possesses supernatural capabilities/traits
  2. Hero is charged w/ a quest
  3. Hero is tested, often to prove the worthiness of himself and the quest
  4. Presence of magical/mythical beings, including animals, creatures, gods, weapons
  5. Hero travels to a supernatural/underworld, one normally forbidden to humans (often this is into darkness, a.k.a. "the belly of the whale")
  6. The hero's journey reaches a low point where he appears defeated or wishes to give up
  7. A resurrection from the point of defeat occurs; the hero often emerges with something new to enhance him/her, such as a new weapon that they can use for good, or knowledge
  8. Restitution restores the hero to his/her rightful place in the "normal" world; in the case of royalty, the throne


Fri, Oct 29


DUE TODAY: Nothing

HOMEWORK TONIGHT:  None - enjoy the weekend!



Traditional exam on "The Odyssey" - open note, but not open book

  • Epic similes - find what is literally being described and also explain what it is compared to
  • Short answer - know the characters in the epic poem and what happens on O's journeys
  • Characteristics of the hero - recall O's heroic exploits and behaviors
  • Greek values - know what Greek values are highlighted through the action in the text
  • Epithets - know the epithets from the readings and be able to identify "real world" examples 


Thu, Oct 28


DUE TODAY: Nothing

HOMEWORK TONIGHT: Prepare for the exam

FOCUS TODAY: Odysseus' return home


Last lessons from Odysseus:

  • If we are persistent, strong, and clever, we can achieve our goals and desires (just like Odysseus eventually returned home)
  • There is an appropriate time, place, and target for anger and revenge (just like Telemachus and Odysseus found)
  • Patience is rewarded (just like Penelope was rewarded by O's return)


Watch the Odysseus' return to Ithaca on video, with some questions:

  • How does Odysseus convince his son that he is his father?
  • Who has dirtied the palace with their presence? What do these people want?
  • Why is it good that Odysseus did NOT directly storm up to the palace?
  • How will the disguise given by Athena benefit Odysseus?
  • What is the lesson on anger given by Odysseus to his son?
  • What is Penelope's plan for selecting a new husband?
  • How does Penelope test Odysseus to make sure he truly is her husband?


Wed, Oct 27


DUE TODAY: Outline of dangers as described by Circe


FOCUS TODAY: Odysseus' fate and Greek values


Review of the dangers to be faced by O and his men:

  • Sirens
  • "Drifters" (dangerously drifting, destructive rocks)
  • Scylla
  • Charybdis
  • Island of Helios' cattle


Reading of O's sailing past the sirens and other dangers


IN CLASS: Answer #2, 3 on pg 939.


Tue, Oct 26


DUE TODAY: Nothing

HOMEWORK TONIGHT: Outline the dangers Circe describes to Odysseus on pgs 928-932

FOCUS TODAY: Epic simile, epithet


Listen to an audio of Book Ten "The Grace of the Witch" and respond to these questions during class time:

  1. Find the epic simile in the first stanza on 918
  2. What happens to the men after they drink Circe’s magic potion?
  3. How is it an example of heroism when Odysseus decides to go to Circe’s hall alone?
  4. Find the epithet for Odysseus in the first stanza on 921
  5. What is Circe’s invitation to Odysseus on 921, and what is his reply? Does she get what she wants?
  6. Identify the string of epithets referring to Odysseus on pg. 922 
  7. What is compared in the epic simile at the bottom of 922?
  8. How long do Odysseus and his men stay in Circe’s hall? (924-925)
  9. Circe reveals that in order to head home, Odysseus must first do what? (925)
  10. What is O’s response to Circe’s directions? (925)


Viewing of The Simpsons version (Homer unfortunately finds the "pig men" tasty)


Mon, Oct 25


DUE TODAY: Nothing


FOCUS TODAY: Epic simile, epithet, heroic characteristics


Warmup: Recall the definition of "simile" and write it (continuing the notes/assignment from last class)


A definition like this works: Simile - A comparison using words such as "like" or "as" between things that at first appear unalike:

  • The sweatshirt was red as a ripe tomato.
  • It's raining like Noah's flood out there!
  • That girl is skinny as a bean pole.
  • Watch out for that guy: He's quick as a rattlesnake and as smart as Einstein.


Students write their own definitions (referring to the Glossary of Literary Terms for help):

  • Epic simile
  • Epithet 


Reading of Odysseus' episode with Cyclopes Pgs 902-914

  • Tracking the similes, epic similes, epithets


Lots of notes while we read! 



Fri, Oct 22


DUE TODAY: Nothing


FOCUS TODAY: Discovering Greek values and heroic characteristics


A focus on the first few pages of The Odyssey, picking out the values of Greek society based on what Odysseus finds odd or awkward in the Cyclopes. Odysseus also demonstrates some heroic qualities as he relates the story of his run-in with the Cyclopes, and we will begin noting those characteristics.


Thu, Oct 21


DUE TODAY: Nothing


FOCUS TODAY: Understanding epic poetry


Working in groups, students will explore these six questions related to the first few pages of Homer's "Odyssey":


  1. The Odyssey is about a hero of ancient Greece. What are the expectations society has for a hero today? What makes someone heroic now? Provide names of people society considers heroes 
  2. Pg 896 8-9 “Translate” what Odysseus means when he refers to himself in this way. For what is he famous and proud 
  3. Pg 897 39-47 How are the Lotus Eaters a threat to O and his crew?
  4. Pg 898 56-58 Explain why O doesn’t respect the Cyclopes. What behaviors make the Cyclopes seem ignorant/backward to O 
  5. Pg 898 71-75 How do these lines show some of O’s heroic traits?
  6. Pg 899 87-92 What do you think the Greeks value in themselves based on how O talks about the Cyclopes in these lines?

And: Thanks to 3rd period for today's tongue-twister: “An anemone enemy.”




Read about "The Odyssey":

  • Pgs 887-891
  • "Build Background" pg. 893

Comments (0)

You don't have permission to comment on this page.