Olympian Learning in the Major Homeric Hymns. Literature Essay (Essay Sample)
Topic: "Olympian Learning in the Major Homeric Hymns"
You should use the four Homeric hymns 1.To Demeter 2.To Apollon 3. To Hermes 4.To Aphrodite to write this essay!
Your paper has two main tasks: (1) demonstrate concretely that something you can call learning (by the Olympians) takes place in the hymns, and (2) suggest some significance this learning may have beyond the mere fact of its occurrence in the narratives. For example: how does the phenomenon of learning contribute to the hymns' characterization of the Olympians (as opposed, for example, to gods who know everything and don't have to learn)? Or, how does the phenomenon of Olympian learning suggest a model for poets' mortal audiences? Or another type of significance you may have thought of. Or more than one.
These two tasks need not occupy equal parts of the paper, but both should be substantial (probably at least one page minimum).
Your paper should discuss more than one hymn(all four if you wish), but it may focus intensively on just one (provided that another receives some discussion). You want to gesture towards the generality of the topic, and provide some substance for the gesture.
Your paper should be about five pages in length. Margins 1-inch, double-spaced, 12 pt type.
Most references to the hymns should be in paraphrase, not direct quotation. References to passages should cite the text (the assigned translation) by poem title and verse number (so, Hermes 18-22), in parentheses (not footnotes). Don't mention the translator's name, volume title, or publisher for this assignment. No bibliography.
It is appropriate to quote a few words of text (in parentheses) to focus the reader's attention on those words at any point you choose.
Longer quotations may be appropriate only if your discussion focuses upon the exact words of a passage. But if you are not discussing the exact words, then quoting the exact words actually distracts your reader's attention from what you are saying, which is where it should be.
In a paper of this length is probably safe to say that no quotation should exceed about four lines (and even then, only when appropriate). The point of the exercise is for you to write about the hymns, not to use the poems to write part of your paper.
Quotations longer than one line should be indented an extra five points on your left margin bar, and not parenthesized. Like this:
And without laughing or tasting food and drink
she sat pining with longing for her deep-girdled daughter (Demeter 200-201)
As with the in-class essays, you should imagine that your reader is a peer who has read the poems but does not know what you are going to say. Imagine that your reader is going to read your essay (with interest) and then go back to the hymns to see if his or her understanding is enhanced. Therefore, you need to clearly articulate the points you are making, make clear their relationship to the text (with citations, so your reader can go straight to the text if he or she wishes), and concrete enough that your reader can read through your paper and comprehend it without having to immediately consult the poems to supply omitted meaning. Paraphrase references to the poems should only provide information relevant to your point, and possibly a little orientation if absolutely necessary (think of your reader, and use common sense tact). Any paraphrase that goes beyond your point distracts the reader from your point and risks confusion, or at least a relaxation of attention. So you won't be summarizing (much less unnecessarily quoting) passages of text, because everything you say about the text will be tailored to your point.
To prepare for writing the paper you probably want to review the hymns with the topic in mind. You will be finding material that you can use for the discussion, and think through something appropriate to say about its significance (task (2) above). You may find it useful to make a short outline sketch. You should plan on writing the essay once through as a draft. If it's too short, you should think of how to expand it by adding content. (Don't repeat yourself, don't add conclusions that simply repeat the orientational paragraph.) You should also check the organization of topics, the organization of paragraphs, clarity, proper usage, grammar, and spelling.
The four Homeric hymns is 1.To Demeter 2.To Apollon 3. To Hermes 4.To Aphrodite
Olympian Learning in the Major Homeric Hymns
The Greeks were lovers of learning and the myths about the goods have religious themes, but these gods and goddesses also have human attributes that are admirable. The support for learning was apparent as the myths inspired the Greeks to better understand the world around them. Learning founds its way to the rest of Europe and even translated to Latin later on. The process of dispersion and assimilation of various aspects of the ancient Greek culture, and the Greek music plays an important role in the study of Western culture. Apollo learns lyre skill from Hermes and Aphrodite learned to control her power and no more fooling other gods and control her desire.
Learning by the Olympians
Greek mythology is characterized by beliefs, music and ritual observances and the collections of Homer’ poems show that the gods reveal human feelings. Apollo’s lyre highlights how Greek music influenced Greek culture and Apollo learned his music skills from Hermes. Music was an important aspect of the Greek culture with the music instrument being incorporated during rituals and festivals.
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