Homer vs Homer
Literature adds to reality, it does not simply describe it. It enriches the necessary competencies that daily life requires and provides; and in this respect, it irrigates the deserts that our lives have already become. ~C. S. Lewis
I recently finished reading the Iliad by Homer
a book listed as one of the greatest works of literature ever crafted. For me, the book was not all that interesting. I found it hard to follow and rather boring. My mind frequently could not concentrate and I found myself just reading words. I was so disillusioned with the book, that I was going to deviate from my plan of reading the top 100 books in order, especially, since the second book on the list was also by Homer.
On a whim, I started into The Odyssey by Homer
figuring I might be able to suffer my way through the last of the Homerian poems before digging into a book which captures my imagination. I figure I might as well get through it now because, to finish my list of the 100 greatest books
, I would have to read it sometime. I am three chapters into the book and am captivated. I find myself eager to progress through the story. The style is so different, I have a hard time believing it was written by the same author. Both are poems but they have differing approaches to the written word. Where the language of the Iliad was challenging to understand with many redundant phrases, the language of the Odyssey is easy follow because it flows more like a modern story.
The Iliad was focused on war and killing throughout most of the story. The first three chapters of The Odyssey are primarily about Telemachus, the son of brave Ulysses. The son is seeking to discover the fate of his father who has not returned from the Trojan war that ended 10 years previous. The communication between Telemachus and others is very conversational with ideas not obscured by the peculiarities of poem writing.
So far, I can relate much more to the Odyssey than I could to the Iliad. My guess is it’s because I can relate to Telemachus, because I can relate to someone on a personal quest for I forever seem to be on some sort of quest. A quest for personal growth, a quest to improve my leadership capabilities, a quest to race mountain bikes better, a quest to ride my road bike further, a quest to unlock and absorb the ideas set into books for my own edification, a quest to find the person with whom I will spend the remainder of my life.
One quest in particular seems right out of the first three chapters. Telemachus is leaving his home for an extended period in a quest to find his father. The aspect that intrigues me is that I have had a three year quest to find a position within my company that will take me to a foreign land for an extended period. At this point in the book, Telemachus does not know if his father is even alive to find yet he keeps upon his quest asking others for guidance and help along the way from friend and people who were warriors with his father in the Trojan war. At this point in my life, I don’t know if my company will ever have an opening for my to work in a foreign land yet I am keeping my quest alive by regularly seeking existing opportunities within my company and trying to create an opportunity for myself where no was seen to exist. I am also seeking the help and guidance of others. I have enlisted help from head hunters which, at least, sounds warriorish. Perhaps they will unlock the door that leads me into the life of my dreams