Rites of Passage

1170 WordsNov 2, 20085 Pages
Rites of Passage Robert Fitzgerald’s translation of Homer’s classic, The Odyssey, is an enchanting tale, which can be examined using the Gaines novel A Lesson Before Dying, and “On The Rainy River”. There are many similarities between these three books but the transformation to adulthood is a theme that reigns supreme in all three works. In The Odyssey Telemakhos’ transition from a boy to a man can be marked by the following events; a separation, trials of strength, a metaphorical death, guidance from a wise individual, and the full transformation into a man. In the beginning of The Odyssey, there is a separation between Telemakhos, Prince of Ithaca, and his kingdom, which is evident when he sits separate from the suitors. This…show more content…
Telemakhos journey, which can be seen as a death, is not really a death but just another stage of his growth. His time at sea is comparable to a caterpillar in his silk cocoon, in which he grows. In this case Telemakhos grows not physically but mentally and emotionally. He gains confidence in himself, which is evident through his speech when he is addressing Nestor. In each of the three works we see that the main character is guided by a person, either human or god. In the Odyssey, the god of war Athena guides Telemakhos. She helps Telemakhos with both her supernatural powers and her wisdom. Athena is the one who convinced Telemakhos to set out and look for news of his father. It also seems to me that Athena serves as a father figure to Telemakhos. Telemakhos has been without a father all his life and although she is a woman she appears to him in the form of a man. He receives advice from Athena on how to lead and how to present himself, all things that fathers teach to their sons. Also, there seems to be closeness between that two. They are comfortable speaking to each other and Telemakhos is not intimidated by her divinity. In On The Rainy River, the grounds keeper at the Tip Top Lodge guides Tim. Although their relationship is not a strong one, he helps push Tim to make a decision. The same is also true in A Lesson Before Dying; Grant helps Jefferson to become a man by teaching him
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