The Odyssey begins with Telemachus and Penelope at home in Ithaca, waiting for Odysseus to return. Odysseus left for the Trojan War twenty years ago, and the Trojan War only lasted ten years. Penelope is mourning the loss of her husband Odysseus and is doubting his return. Their home in Ithaca is being swarmed by suitors who have hopes of marrying Penelope. Telemachus is feeling angry because he wants Odysseus to return home and the suitors to leave, but he is unable to do anything about it. The suitors have been plotting to murder Odysseus upon his return. Odysseus is alive, but struggling to make it home. He was being held captive by Calypso, and is being tortured by Poseidon. With the help of the gods, Zeus and Athena, Telemachus sets out to find word of his father. While he is abroad, he learns of his fathers past, and learns he is more a like his courageous father than a scared boy he once was like. Athena guides Odysseus home by giving him advice. When Odysseus returns home, he returns in disguise, as a beggar. He is aware of the suitors and their plot to kill Odysseus upon his return. When Telemachus returns home from his journey, Odysseus shows Telemachus his true identity as his father. Together Odysseus and Telemachus plot to destroy the suitors, and return the kingdom of Ithaca to its former glory. Penelope is unaware of Odysseus return, and tells Odysseus who is in disguise that she is considering marriage to one of the suitors. In the end of The Odyssey, Odysseus and Telemachus kill all of the suitors, and rebuild their lives as the rulers of Ithaca.
The Whale Rider began with a man named Porourangi who had twins a boy and a girl. During their birth the boy dies and Porourangi’s father Koro was upset because he wants the boy to be chief. He wants the boy to be chief because he knows that the tradition of his ancestors was that the chief was always a boy and never a girl.
During Paikea’s younger life he treats her differently because he thinks that she is no use to him because she can’t become chief and lead his tribe out of darkness. As time progresses Koro starts a school to teach the firstborn boy from each family in his tribe how to be a chief. During his lessons Paikea would always try to sneak around and see what they were doing because she wanted to be like them and prove she could do anything they could do. During her attempts to learn she went to her uncle Rawari to learn more about how to use the taiaha which was against her culture to do so. The next day Koro found out that his best student was fighting Paikea with the taihia and he lost. After Paikea’s grandfather found out he was furious. Paikea’s Grandmother, who she calls Nanny, tried to comfort her after her grandfather yelled at her. The next day Koro took all of the boys except the one that lost in the battle to Paikea to the ocean. Once they got to the Ocean he said “ To have a whales tooth you must be able to wield the jaw of a whale” after he said this he took the whale tooth off of his neck and threw it into the water. After this he said “whoever can bring me back the tooth will be named chief. All of the boys jumped into the water to get the tooth, but none of them came out with it. Koro went home and cried and called for the ancestors help. That next day Paikea went to the same spot of the ocean, jumped in the water and eventually after a while she came up with the whales tooth. When Nanny and the uncle saw this they were shocked because they knew what it meant. Later on that night Paikea went outside and called the ancestors to help her not knowing that the whales would come. That same night she had to go to an orientation and she won a reward there and told her life story. Koro while on his way there noticed that multiple whales washed up on shore and he cried and wondered what was wrong and who was the blame for this.When everyone came from the orientation they saw him on the beachside. Everyone saw what had happened and tried all night and all morning to keep the whales alive and get them back in the water. When everyone gave up on the whales Paikea got on top of the largest whale kicked its side and said “ come on” and the whale started to go back into the ocean, with the others following. When Nanny noticed her granddaughter was gone she cried and looked for her and the grandfather noticed that all the whales were gone. After this the Nanny gave Koro the whale tooth and told him Paikea had found it and then he knew she was the whale rider. It ended as Paikea becoming the chief and grandfather eventually accepting the fact that she was the chief.
Essential Questions for the 9th grade
The essential questions that the 9th graders are focusing on are:
Who am I?
How do I interact with the environment?
How does the environment affect me?
Who am I? is a question that everyone has to face. At SLA we have been focusing on what makes us who we are. In The Odyssey, Telemachus is stuck between the gap of boyhood and manhood. But with his quest to manhood, comes may barriers. He is trying to take that step, get rid of the suitors, and make a name for himself, but the suitors are keeping him grounded. With the help of Athena, he is able to set sail and learn about his father, while he is really learning about himself. In the end, Telemachus completes he journey, and gets rid of the suitors with some help from Odysseus. In Whale Rider, Paikea is trapped between who she is meant to be and who she wants to be. Due to their cultural beliefs she cannot participate in the things she enjoys, such as wielding the taiaha. Paikea has the natural talent that the Maori tribes look for in a leader, but because she is a girl, becoming a leader is not possible. Paikea defies Koro, her grandfather, and secretly takes part in some of the schooling to teach of the boys in the village of the requirement for becoming a Maori leader. Many a times Paikea is punished for defying Koro, but she still continues to prove herself as the rightful leader. In the end of the Whale Rider, some whales, which are sacred to the Maori culture, are washed up on the beach, and the people of the village are trying to help the get make into the water, before the die. Eventually the lose hope and as they start to leave Paikea, “speaks” to the biggest whale and rides it into the water, with the other whales following. In the end Koro accepts the fact that Paikea is the rightful leader, and that she has proven it many a times. Paikea is allowed to participate in the activities she enjoys and changes the Maori culture.
How do I interact with the environment? or another way of say it is, how do I effect the environment I am in? The 9th graders at SLA are asking themselves these questions, and how the want to effect the community, such as helping people out. In The Odyssey the suitors have been taking over Penelope and Telemachus’s palace, and causing chaos everywhere. This has been making it harder for Telemachus and Penelope to get over their grief of loosing Odysseus. Penelope has lost all hope, and puts a downer on the household, versus Telemachus who acts more like a comedy act for the suitors. Paikea has as a great impact on her environment in Whale Rider. Paikea goes against the Maori traditions, which effects the whole Maori village. In the end of the film she changed the tradition and culture of the Maori tribe. Paikea’s grandfather, Koro, is the tribe leader. He is searching for a new leader, and is not one of the most pleasant of characters in the film. His son, Porourangi, did not become the tribe leader like he was meant to become, which was a great disappointment to Koro. Koro runs a school in the village for all of the first born sons, to train them so that they may become the tribe leader. Koro has a lot of control over the village, and he is very stubborn. He made it very difficult for Paikea to be herself, because she was a girl. Eventually, Koro does come around, and accepts Paikea for who she is.
How does the environment affect me? The SLA 9th graders have been looking at this question to see not just how we affect our environment, but how it affects us as well. In The Odyssey the people is Ithaca have changed since Odysseus had left. They are not all as kind and warm hearted as before, and they have grown weary and cautious. This has effected Penelope, for there is less people their to give her hope that one day Odysseus will return. It has effected Telemachus, pushing him farther into the scared boyhood he is trying to escape. And this effected Odysseus, who did not get the warm welcome he was longing for. Because of Ithaca, Telemachus has become an even stronger leader than he may have been otherwise. In the Whale Rider Paikea is living in a mens world. Her culture and tribe members have put her is a role that she does not want. The Maori tribe is sexist towards their traditions and leadership, and Paikea is trying to be herself, without defying her culture. Paikea is put in a tough position because of her tribe, but because of it, she has become the strong leader she is.
Chelsea Janette Smith, and Tucker Bartholomew
In the movie Whale Rider there were many similarities to the book The Odyssey. For one through out the movie and in the book neither of the main character was able to see their father for a long period of time. Also each character wasn’t respected as much as they should have been and they both a very big role to play. Each people had to step up their game and take over something. For example Telemacus had to become a man and take over the palace and be the man his father was. As for Pike she had to prove to her grandfather that she was the chosen one. She showed him that girls could do the same thing as a guy can and she did her very best at. They both showed that they were ready to take on their responsibility no matter what the consequences might have been.
There are many differences between The Odyssey and Whale Rider. Many of them have to do with main characters. The main characters in Whale Rider was a young girl, while in The Odyssey the main character was a grown man. Another difference is that Odysseus was always trying to get home, while with Pike, she was home getting pushed away as a leader from her family. Another thing is, that Odysseus was already an accepted leader by all who knew him. However Pike, was trying to convince people she was capable of leading a tribe. But to others, she was just a little girl, and girls are not allowed to be leaders. Another big difference in the two stories, is that the main characters have different goals. Odysseus’ goal is to take his palace back from the suitors. But the goal of Pike was to be a leader, and to rise up with favor in the eyes of her grandfather. She was small, and Odysseus, the great warrior, used violence to attain his goal.
In the Odyssey, Odysseus tries to get home after the Trojan War, but he is held back by Calypso who wants him for a husband. His wife Penelope is forced to court more than 80 selfish suitors. Penelope and Odysseus’ son, Telemachus, goes on a journey to find news of his father. In the Whale Rider Paikea is a girl in a culture where boys are at a higher position. Her grandfather does not accept her for who she truly is because of this. He wants her father, Porourangi, to carry on the line by marring again to produce a son. When he find this plan fatal the grandfather decides to look elsewhere for a leader, not knowing that Paikea is the one.
In English class we learned about the ninth grade essential questions. They are “Who am I?”, “How do I interact with the environment?”, and “How does the environment affect me?”. In the Odyssey the question “Who am I” comes up when Telemachus learns how much like his father he really is. In the Whale Rider Paikea has to figure out the question “Who am I?” when she has to decide whether our not to secretly learn the way of the chief or the female way. In the Odyssey Penelope interacts and is affected by her environment by being bitter to the suitors and willing do anything to hear news about Odysseus. In the Whale Rider Paikea interacts and is affected by her environment by being sad when the whales washed up on shore and helps by riding the whales back into the ocean.
In both the stories the men cause everybody else trouble and misery. So to reflect on the scandals in the Odyssey you have to be able to deal with a lot of drama. One thing that happens in the Odyssey is that on Odysseus’ way home he sleeps with many women and evens says for years with Calypso, while his wife Penelope stays true to Odysseus and does not marry or sleep with any of the suitors. In the Whale Rider the drama is less complicated but still strong. Paikea’s grandfather ignores her on his search for the next leader, even though Paikea shows signs that she can be the future chief of their tribe. For she was able to get the whale tooth that the other boys could not.
Although The Odyssey is an epic poem that has been around for centuries, and the Whale Rider is a movie, they both posses numerous similarities that can be linked to our lives today. In The Odyssey, the book is focused on Telemachus, who is trying to find his father who was lost at sea for over 10 years. He is also trying to find his own way of journeying into manhood. Whale Rider is about Paikea, a girl on a journey of finding acceptance from her grandfather Koro and becoming the chief of the Maori Tribe, although she was a girl. The main themes of these two great pieces of literature are journeying to find who you are and being accepted as you are.
In our school, Science Leadership Academy, one of our essential questions is “Who am I?” In The Odyssey, Telemachus was on a journey to find out who he really was. To find his strength, he fought the suitors who were plaguing his house, and he went on to find his long lost father to prove his courage and bravery. Along the way he found out that a huge part of him was made up of some of the characteristics of his father. Telemachus did not only inherit his father’s looks but also his will, bravery, inspiration, confidence and wisdom. Telemachus found out that these characteristics were a part of him and he accepted that. In Whale Rider the main character Paikea, was the only child and a descendant of the first whale rider Paikea. Although the Maori society was sexist and did not allow females become chiefs, Paikea was still determined to full fill her destiny of becoming the first female chief in the tribe. Even though her grandfather did not accept her for who she was and who she was trying to be, she stayed on her own path, believed in herself, and she did not change her image because it showed who she was as a person. She did not apologize for who she was.
Just like Telemachus and Paikea, we as teenagers face identity crisis at some point in our lives. That is why the one of our 9th grade essential questions is asking ourselves “Who am I?” We do not change who we are just because someone discriminate us, and we do not change who we are because someone does not like the way we look. We change emotionally, physically, and mentally, but who we are inside still remains. To find who we really are inside, we have to look deep with in ourselves and ask ourselves what make me special and what makes me unique. We have to accept ourselves; only then can you really find who you are. Just like how Paikea accepted who she was as a girl in the tribe and just like how Telemachus accepted that he is now a man and that he is a part of his father. We as 9th graders should not be afraid to express ourselves and this essential question really puts us on the right path of self-acceptance. So it is very surprising how an ancient Greek story and an uplifting drama movie can relate to what is happening to us as 9th graders today.
Catherine Nardone and Sam Lovett-Perkins
November 25, 2009
This year in 9th grade English we had to look into ourselves to answer essential questions. These questions involved finding who we are, and how we are involved with the world around us. To help do this we read The Odyssey and saw the movie Whale Rider. These two sources and we became a literary trinity, making connections between all three.
One common ideal in each source was being who you are. One of the essential questions asks, “Who am I?” In Whale Rider, Paikea, a child who learns to except that she is the legendary whale rider even though tribe tradition says she can’t be, because she is a girl. She learns to accept the life she was given and started to take action about it, eventually learning that just because she’s a girl that doesn’t mean she is weak.
The Odyssey has many values for us to learn. There is betrayal, love and transformation. Transformation played not only a big part in the life of the people in The Odyssey, but in our modern lives as well. In the epic tale, one of the main focuses is growing up and finding who you are. This can really relate to our Grade 9 Essential Questions of “Who am I?” Young Telemachus slowly enters the journey into maturity. As we mature in the world today we can easily escape from whom we are, just to want to fit into the crowd, but that’s not finding who you really are. People should learn these values now, rather than later because you can lose yourself along your life’s journey. Telemachus finally enters in to his life as a man and he looks back and is proud of who he has become. As today, we should be proud of who we become and how we can become that person.
In the end this all connects to the essential questions. “Who am I?” “How do I interact with the environment?”, and “how does the environment affect me?” Being in high school can put us in complicated and difficult places. Not necessarily alone in a palace without a dad (Odyssey) or in a gender stereotyped society (Whale Rider). But maybe students do have family issues and maybe we are in a racist, homophobic, or sexist environment, in a place where we are forced to grow up and make the best of a situation, and maybe even discover who we are in the process.
In English class we have watched the movie Whale Rider, and read The Odyssey. We looked at connections between them, and have decided there are many. The Odyssey and Whale rider seem like two things that would not be connected in any way, but there are many connections hidden among the stories.
The Odyssey and Whale Rider have many similarities. In The Odyssey, Odysseus leaves his son, and goes to war for 20 years, in which he is not heard from. In Whale Rider, Paikea is left by her father at birth similar to how Telemachus was left by Odysseus. In The Odyssey there were many suitors trying to get rid of Telemachus, and thinking that he was a kid. In Whale Rider Paikea is yelled at and thought to be a girl that couldn’t fulfill the prophecy. Telemachus and Paikea both have to travel across, or in some body of water. Telemachus has to travel across seas to find out if his father is alive, and Paikea has to get the whales back into the sea; which she does by riding on the back of one.
In both The Odyssey and Whale Rider the children must ask themselves “ who am I?” In Whale Rider Paikea must realize that she can fulfill the prophecy even though she is a girl, and show her grandfather that she can fulfill the prophecy. In The Odyssey Telemachus decides that he has to become a man, stop acting like a child, and take control. Both Telemachus and Paikea prove their point in the end, Telemachus by showing that he is a man and can take charge; and Paikea by riding on the back of the whale and getting the other whales back into the ocean.
In English class we read The Odyssey and watched Whale Rider. As we reflected on the 2 stories, we found a few similarities and differences. These connect with our 9th grade essential questions. These stories connected to our essential questions because they taught us to never give up. If we have our mind set on accomplishing a goal, we should strive for the best and never give up. We should reach for the stars to get what we want achieved.
In The Odyssey Telemachus never stopped giving up on standing up to the suitors, and searching for his father. In Whale Rider Paikea realized she was the chosen one, and never gave up on becoming a chief. This is similar due to the fact both characters had their mind set out to do something, and because they never gave up they accomplished their goals. Also in The Odyssey Telemachus formed an alliance with a god and goddess so he find his father and get rid if the suitors. Paikea from the Whale Rider sought help from her Uncle so she could learn the skills to becoming a chief. This is another similarity because the characters seeked help from some powerful people so they complete their task. Without these sources, these characters would’ve given up on themselves.
We had a hard time finding differences between the stories. One difference I saw was that Telemachus was a male and Paikea was a female. Another difference we saw between the stories was that in The Odyssey took place in Roman times so the culture in the story was Greek, but in Whale Rider the story took place in New Zealand and the characters was part of the Maori culture.
The movie, Whale Rider was deeply touching. It described the growth of a young girl named Paikea, struggling against a sexist community. Her struggles can be compared to Telemachus’s struggles against the men trying to woo his mother in The Odyssey. They showed the growth of a young girl and boy into leaders, but also showed the power of change. But Telemachus and Paikea have trouble-getting recognition. Along the way getting past these struggles, Paikea and Telemachus learn a lot about themselves.
Throughout the film Whale Rider, Paikea struggled with her grandfather over the prophet that the first-born son will rise up and become the leader. During Paikea’s birth her mother and twin brother die. Her father Porourangi becomes distressed over his losses and refused to speak to his father Koro. Porourangi then decided to move away to Germany to get away from his misery and to start his art gallery. Koro who had always hoped Porourangi’s first son would be the chosen one, tries to find hope in the other first-born boys but fails. This relates to The Odyssey in many ways, such as how Paikea does not see her father for most of her life, and how other family members raise her. Telemachus does not see his father Odysseus for most practically his whole life, and is raised by his mother.
Paikea discovers she is the ‘chosen one’ who will become chief, but more importantly she learns a lot about her heritage. When a person learns about his or her heritage, they usually can’t help but identify with it. We learn about who we are, and how we became this way. Paikea learns why she is in New Zealand and her family’s connection to the ocean and because of it, she feels connected to the ocean.
Telemachus learns to become a man during his struggles. He is surrounded by his mother’s suitors and is never able to become a man while they stand over him and insult him. However, when Telemachus ventures of to find his father, he also finds his manhood. During his travels Telemachus is forced into different situations. He gets through these difficulties and learns from them. The Odyssey and Whale Rider are both books with interesting characters that travel a long way spiritually, and who take on enormous challenges that show them who they are, and what they are mad of.
Isabella Tognini & Zach Castro
Whale rider/Odyssey Reflections
In the Odyssey, Telemachus tries to prove that he was a man. That he could be strong both emotionally and physically. In Whale Rider, Paikea tries to convince her grandfather (Koro), that she was not weak. Even though she was not the first-born son, she proved that not only boys could be the ruler of their tribe.
This proves that there is so much more to a person then what meets the eye.
Isabella Tognini, Paikea –
My name is Paikea, and I am apart of the Maori tribe. In our history there has never been a female as chief, because we’re said to be weak. My twin brother was going to be the first-born son. But he died, bringing my mother with him. My grandfather was waiting for him to be the first-born and the chief. But he was deceived when he saw me, the one of the two alive. I know he loves me, even though he doesn’t admit it or show it. If it had been me that died and not my brother I know he would have been happier. But I’m stronger then he thinks. Many people do not believe in me. They think I’m just a normal girl, trying to hard to be noticed. But I know I’m supposed to take the place of my brother, I can feel it. I’m not looking for attention, I just want to help, our ancestors answered to my call. But not in the way I had hoped. Koro sent me away when I tried to help again. But I didn’t let him get me down.
Zach Castro, Telemachus –
I am Telemachus and my father is Odysseus. My mother is Penelope, and no one knew where my father is. See, when I was born my father left to fight in the Trojan War. So I had no father to help me become strong, to look after my family, and keep things in order. So to help my mother I tried to learn to be a man and get rid of the suitors until I knew for sure that my father was alive. So now I’m with my father but my mother doesn’t know the secret. But that’s how I learned to become a man. A lot of this drama affected me because all these suitors tried to take over my father’s palace, and no one was doing anything about it. I was acting like a child, but now I have grown. So my father came to me in disguise and we got rid of all the suitors. Now he’s leaving and I’ll never know if he’ll come back for my mother without disguise. So until then I am the man standing in my father’s place.
The Odyssey of the Whale Rider
by : Ryan-chan and Kammii-Chi
First off what is English class? Well, english class is a place where great stories are told and explored. It’s also a place where epic stories are made. And it’s the place where we discovered the stories of The Odyssey by Homer and Whale Rider by Witi Ihuimaera. Both tales are tales of adventures and journeys of people accepting things for what they are. Also, both stories show the process of people growing into what they were destined to be.
Though The Odyssey is an epic poem it mainly follows the adventures of Telemachus, the son of the great Odysseus, a powerful warrior and king of Ithaca. It tells a tale about how hardships, tough times, and tight places make a boy grow into the man he’s meant to be. The story of the Whale Rider follows the young Paikea, a girl in the Maori tribe of people ,where women are often put down and can’t become chief. Paikea eventually grows into a powerful figure in a society completely dominated by men. These stories can relate on many different levels. One of those levels would be the way the main characters Telemachus and Paikea, both struggle with being accepted by the many people around them. They also lack a father figure in their life to help guide them along. With Telemachus, he was angry at his father for not being there for him. With Paikea, she loved her father although he wasn’t ever there when it counted the most. Both their fathers were never around when they were needed the most.
NOW!!!!! Let us compare these two explosively powerful stories to the 9th grade Essential Questions of SLA(Science Leadership Academy). The first question: “Who am I?” We believe this relates to The Odyssey by Homer and Whale Rider by Witi Ihuimaera That both characters go through the tales not knowing or understanding how they really are and as they age they soon find out who they really are. The second question: “How do i interact with the environment?” We believe that this relates to the books because the main characters must interact with the people around them whether they are helping or hindering them. The last question: “How does the environment affect me?” We believe that this question relates to the books because in the book Whale Rider Paikea had to work to earn what was rightfully hers because her environment didn’t allow females to be head of the tribe. Telemachus was affected by his environment because no one around his surroundings believed he could be king. Because of that his self esteem was lowered. Tune in next time!
- Ryan-Chan & Kammii-Chi OUT-