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Describe Eating and Drinking Occupies a Central Role in The Odyssey (Essay Sample)


A close reading is an analysis of a text that shows how the details of that text work together to develop a particular idea or produce a certain effect on the audience. Those details may have to do with the way the text is narrated, the way it’s structured, the kind of language it uses, the images or metaphors it presents, how it imagines its own audience, or a range of other textual features. The point is that a close reading shows both what the text says or does (i.e., what it encourages readers to think, feel, or do) and also how the text says or does that thing.
Book 9 of the Odyssey opens with Odysseus declaring that “Nothing we do is sweeter than” feasting and listening to stories. Indeed, one could argue that in Books 9 through 12, no activities are more important than (A) eating and drinking and (B) remembering (this being one of the primary purposes of stories). Show how one or both of those activities run throughout this section of the epic, and explain their significance. Why does Homer harp on these activities? What does he use them to accomplish in this section? Also, if you think the text suggests that there’s a natural relationship between feasting and remembering, that they’re related to each other somehow, explain the nature of that relationship.

Indeed, eating and drinking occupies a central role in The Odyssey. Homer uses feasting prominently in the scenes and shows the significance of the activity. It is universal custom to eat together while telling stories. During the ancient and medieval societies, story-tellers would entertain people who had assembled at a feast. During the meals, important information would be passed to the people through stories. Throughout the scenes, eating and drinking serves to welcome guests and entertain them. It is a sign of hospitality that the host must show to the guests. Feasting also occurs during arrivals and departures and allow the host to show off their wealth.
Odysseus is welcomed by Alcinoos and Arete his queen. There is a lot of feasting which is accompanied by singing. It is an opportunity to remember most of the exploits of the Greek heroes and their exploits. While eating and drinking, they narrate the exploits during the Trojan War and the tales of the gods. Feasting gives an opportunity for them to remember the things that have taken place over a long period of time.
Feasting also takes place when Odysseus and his men reach Cyclopes, the land of the uncivilized race of the one-eyed giants. They make a meal of the wild goats they had captured offshore....
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