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Cold Mountain/The Odyssey Comparison Essay

1255 words - 5 pages

More than twenty-five hundred years ago a renowned epic of Greek mythology was written. This work, known as The Odyssey, illustrates the journey home made by Odysseus, a Trojan war hero, who seeks his wife Penelope. Similar in plot, though written only four years ago, Cold Mountain is a romantic saga which depicts the travels of Inman, a Confederate soldier, at his attempt to reunite with his love Ada. Homer's The Odyssey and Charles Frazier's Cold Mountain tell of the struggles faced by the man and woman of each novel's relationship. Although these works are written thousands of years apart, both incorporate one man's effort, after fighting war, to return to his love while encountering several obstacles that hinder and assist his journey.In The Odyssey, Penelope faithfully waits for Odysseus to return home. She is unsure as to whether or not he is alive, but even so, she remains loyal to her husband. While Odysseus is overcoming obstacles along his journey home, Penelope also survives through her own difficulties. She is in the palace with her son, Telemachus, and hundreds of rude, hopeful suitors. In order to avoid choosing a new husband, Penelope devises a plan: she insists that she will choose a suitor upon her completion of sewing a shroud for Lord Laertes' eventual death. "So by day she used to weave at the great web, but every night she had torches set beside it and undid the work. For three years she took us in by this trick." This plan works for her until a servant betrays her and tells the suitors about it. Another clever scheme Penelope forms is to suggest an archery contest and have the winner become her new husband. However, Penelope knows there is only one individual capable of shooting Odysseus' arrow through twelve axes, and of course that individual is Odysseus himself. These are two of the tricks that Penelope plays in order to cope with her struggles during Odysseus' absence.Charles Frazier's Cold Mountain tells the story of Inman, a soldier, and Ada, his love. As the novel progresses, Ada must alter her lifestyle in order to survive. During the war, her father dies and the workers on her farm leave, forcing her to fend for herself. Because Ada has no knowledge of farming, she struggles immensely. That is until Ruby, a local girl, transforms Ada into a strong, hard-working, nature-smart woman. Together, Ada and Ruby are able to save the farm and withstand the effects of war on their home. Ada deals with arising difficulties by reminiscing about the times spent with Inman. Both Ada and Inman are able to overcome obstacles using only the love they have inside for each other.As Penelope encounters problems at the palace, Odysseus comes across his own set of hardships. After the Trojan War, he begins his journey home. However, it takes Odysseus ten years before he actually arrives back to his wife and son. This delay is due to the several obstacles which Odysseus must face. On his first attempt home, Odysseus is sidetracked by a...

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