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The Odyssey Helios Essay Prompt. Learn From Your Own Writing. Introductions. What makes a good introduction? Start with the general—don’t give away too much in the beginning, make your reader want to read on Be specific about your argument, what side are you arguing for?

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the odyssey helios essay prompt

The OdysseyHelios Essay Prompt

Learn From Your Own Writing

  • What makes a good introduction?
  • Start with the general—don’t give away too much in the beginning, make your reader want to read on
  • Be specific about your argument, what side are you arguing for?
  • Give specific names of characters for the text
  • Do not give a summary of the story.
sample introduction 1
Sample Introduction #1
  • Following orders and being obedient are things that people of all ages and from all time periods struggle with. Most people have trouble obeying the rules that are given to them by other people in authority, or following instructions of their religious beliefs. Sometimes those people choose to break the rules for selfish reasons and are punished for their actions. Sometimes they choose to disobey to prove a point, and are willing to suffer the consequences with the hope that it will bring about a change in the rules. In The Odyssey, Odysseus’ men choose to break the rules of Helios and disobey Odysseus’ orders; therefore, they get the punishment that they deserve.
sample introduction 2
Sample Introduction #2
  • When an unworthy act is committed, most receive punishment. The punishment may be harsh or gentle, depending on the crime and the personality of the punisher. If the punisher, in this case, Helios, is forgiving, the consequence is not of great recognition, but then there is not captivating story. In The Odyssey, Odysseus and his men deserve their punishment from Zeus and Helios because they do not pay heed to the god’s advice.
sample introduction 3
Sample Introduction #3
  • Boom! One second and the whole world can be turned upside down. One second and one’s life is in danger. One second and a ship can be split in half and leave but one survivor. Indeed, a great deal of choices can be made in the length of one second, and how a choice is made affects the rest of the story. Odysseus’ crew make a choice, not the wisest one; they choose to kill the forbidden cattle of the sun God to feed their avenging hunger. The greed of one man can lead to awful consequences. Odysseus’ men rightly deserve what they get dealt to them in The Odyssey, but Odysseus should not be punished at all.
sample introduction 4
Sample Introduction #4
  • When faced with a pressuring situation, there are two possible options of what to do: the right thing or the wrong thing. The right thing being what is morally correct, the wrong being what is immoral. When on chooses an immoral choice, he or she normally suffers repercussions of his or her decision. In Homer’s epic poem The Odyssey, Odysseus and his crew are faced with the problem of going hungry, or eating the cattle of which they have been told not to eat. In The Odyssey, Odysseus’ crew decides to eat the sacred cattle of Helios. In consequence, Zeus sends a severe storm that kills off all of the crew. Because of the men’s choice to kill the cattle of Helios in The Odyssey, they receive a punishment that is well deserved.
sample introduction 5
Sample Introduction #5
  • Starvation is a torture that can drive even the toughest men crazy. In the epic poem The Odyssey, Odysseus is warned by Tiresias not to eat the cattle of Helios, or those who eat it will be punished. Taking this warning into careful consideration, Odysseus warns his men not to eat the cattle when they reach the island, short and simple. Upon reaching the island, they discover that there is no food or game and become land-trapped when a heavy storm hits the island. No food eventually leads to starvation, causing them to eat the cattle of Helios and enjoy their last dinner. In the story The Odyssey, Odysseus’ men deserve the punishment because they are warned, but driven crazy from the lack of food, they ignore the warning and eat the cattle.
thesis statements
Thesis Statements
  • All thesis statements for papers of literary analysis should include 2 things:
  • 1. The title of the literary work that you are analyzing. The Odyssey
  • 2. Your specific stance on the topic. YOUR ARGUMENT! For this essay you needed to state whether or not Odysseus’ men deserve the punishment they receive for eating the cattle of Helios.
  • The thesis statement is where you narrow your topic to your specific point of focus.
  • The thesis statement should be located at the end of your introduction.
thesis statement 1
Thesis Statement #1
  • In The Odyssey, the men who eat the cattle deserve their fate because they eat the cattle when Odysseus tells them not to, and they promise they won’t, which leads them to certain death.
thesis statement 2
Thesis Statement #2
  • In The Odyssey, the punishment that the gods inflict on Odysseus and his crew for eating Helios’s cattle is just; they are warned and still do not heed the warnings.
thesis statement 3
Thesis Statement #3
  • In The Odyssey, Odysseus’ men deserve to be punished because they disobey the commands that Odysseus has given them.
thesis statement 4
Thesis Statement #4
  • In The Odyssey, the crew deserve their punishment because they ignore an important order that determines the fate of their ship.
thesis statement 5
Thesis Statement #5
  • In the story The Odyssey, Odysseus and his men are punished by Zeus and Helios for eating the cattle of the sun God which they should not have done.
most common thesis statement mistake
Most Common Thesis Statement Mistake
  • In The Odyssey, Odysseus’ men are punished for eating the cattle of Helios.
  • What is wrong with this thesis statement?
quote inclusion
Quote Inclusion
  • Choose quotes that support your argument
  • Avoid lengthy quotes when possible—only include what is necessary to support your point.
  • Avoid summarizing quotes—instead analyze their importance to your argument and the text you are writing about.
  • Follow rules of parenthetical documentation
  • (Authors last name and page #).
  • Discuss how the quote you chose pertains to your argument.
  • Discuss what the quote reveals about the motives of the character.
quote 1
Quote #1
  • Some say that Odysseus does not warn his men that there will be consequences for eating the cattle. He does indeed, “The cattle here are not for our provision, or we pay dearly for it” (Homer 1011). Odysseus may not tell his crew of any specific corollary involved in this action, but he most certainly warns them that there will be recompense. He even goes so far as to tell them that it is the sun God, Helios, that owns and cherishes the cattle, and that “No man avoids his eye” (Homer 1011). These words are meant to advise his team against thoughts of invincibility, there is not doubt, Helios will find out about the desecration.
quote 2
Quote #2
  • When Odysseus travels to Hades, Tiresias warns him to stay away from Helios’ cattle, saying, “…But if you raid the beeves, I see destruction for ship and crew…” (Homer 1003). Odysseus takes Tiresias’ prophecy seriously and wants his men to follow the instructions completely. After Odysseus and his men arrive at Thrinacia, Odysseus tells his men, “…the cattle here are not for our provision, or we pay dearly for it. Fierce the god is who cherishes these heifers and these sheep…” (Homer 1011). The men agree to follow the instructions by nodding their heads. While there is bread to eat and wine to drink, they stay true to their word and do not touch the cattle.
your turn to give it a try
Your Turn to Give It A Try
  • Locate one of your quotes that you included in your paper.
  • Take 5 minutes on your own to write a more complete analysis of your quote.
  • Remember to analyze and provide opinions, rather than summarizing the quote or restating it.
  • After 5 minutes you will share with your table partner and get some feedback.
other helpful reminders
Other Helpful Reminders
  • Use present tense when writing about literature.
  • Use 3rd person when writing about literature.
  • Avoid summary of the text, rather express your opinions and analyze the text.
  • Avoid dead words (i.e. just, very, really, etc.)
  • Make definitive statements.
most common grammatical mistakes
Most Common Grammatical Mistakes
  • There, Their, They’re
  • There is a possessive personal pronoun.
  • Their is an adverb used to point out location.
  • They’re is the contraction for “they are”.
  • They’re a well-dressed couple.
  • Do you see them over there, with their matching jackets?
most common grammatical mistakes1
Most Common Grammatical Mistakes
  • Than, Then
  • Than is used in a comparison; then tells when.
  • Then he cried and said that his big brother was bigger than my big brother.
  • Then I cried.