The Odyssey by Homer (Robert Fagles’
Unit Length and Description:
Students are introduced to Greek mythology prior to reading Homer’s epic, The Odyssey, in order to develop a deep understanding of Greek culture. This understanding will also allow students to decipher allusions made in the epic. Students first learned about the quest motif in grade 4. This set builds on that knowledge, as students will come to understand how great literature reflects life, and how in any journey, be it physical or metaphysical, patience is important for gaining wisdom and experience along the way. Students will explore common ideas across texts, such as how people give value to their lives and the costs of giving into impulse, impiety, temptation, and recklessness. Students will also explore the influence that The Odyssey has on modern life.
This unit will focus on craft and structure and integration of knowledge and ideas. Writing will be predominately narrative with some focus on informative/explanatory and argumentative.
Skill(s): analyzing two or more literary texts/author’s claims
Reading Informational Texts:
Skill(s): integrating and evaluating diverse formats of media
Skill(s): delineating/evaluating arguments/claims
Skill(s): analyzing two or more informational texts
Skill(s): narrative writing
Skill(s): gathering information and assessing credibility
Skill(s): drawing evidence to support analysis, reflection, or research.
Speaking and Listening
Skill(s): presenting information
Skill(s): using technology
Skill(s): adapting speech
Skill(s): determining or clarifying definitions of words with multiple
a) using context as a clue to the meaning of a word or phrase,
b) identifying and correctly using patterns of word changes to indicate different meanings or parts of speech,
c) consulting general and specialized reference materials, both print and digital, to find the pronunciation of a word or determine or clarify its precise meaning, its part of speech, or its etymology, and
d) verifying the preliminary determination of the meaning of a word or phrase.
Skill(s): demonstrating understanding of figurative language
a) interpreting figures of speech in context and analyzing their role in the text, and
b) analyzing nuances in the meaning of words with similar denotations.
· Classic literature allows the reader to understand the past and make connections to the present.
· All societies and cultures have heroes, and we learn about our own lives through these heroes.
· Epic heroes were both heroic and flawed and reflect the culture from which they emerged.
· The social structure of Ancient Greece is fundamentally different than American society today, and thus has different rules for hospitality, revenge and justice, and moral behavior.
· Some aspects of Odysseus would still be considered heroic today, and others are a specific aspect of Ancient Greek culture.
· Is there value in learning “the classics”?
· What can Odysseus and his journey teach us about ourselves and our modern society?
· How do a hero’s attributes and flaws affect his mental, emotional, and physical journey?
· What ideals to Ancient Greeks and modern Americans have in common? What ideals are different?
· When does a story about one person become a story about all of us?