theme

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Common Theme
The theme of a hero’s journey is seen through many of our readings, especially in The Odyssey and Maus. Odysseus is seen as a strong figure throughout the entire epic poem through many circumstances. One such circumstance is when Odysseus confronts the Cyclops. “But even from there my courage, my presence of mind and tactics saved us all” (277). This particular event portrays one of the most difficult trials that Odysseus goes through because he must escape the cave, but is unable to move a rock that is sealing the entrance. To escape, Odysseus eventually uses his smart wit to overcome the Cyclops. He ultimately is seen as a heroic figure because of Odysseus’s ability to learn to use his mind instead of his body to solve his problems. Similarly, in Maus, Vladek also follows a hero’s journey throughout the events that uncoiled from the Holocaust. In the beginning he seems very ignorant and it seemed as a reader that it was initially meant to feel some hostility toward his character. Upon further reading, you realize that Vladek has actually been through a lot and through his experiences in the Holocaust, especially the strains that were placed upon him and the death of his wife really makes the reader follow Vladek’s hero’s journey. In the same way as Odysseus, Vladek also uses his mind throughout, trying to find a way to survive the Holocaust. “ Here I saw rolls! I saw eggs! Meat! Coffee! All the table FULL! You know what it was to see such things? (33). This quote explains how lucky Vladek had been during his experiences in the war. Though both are totally different stories, each shows a hero’s journey through each. While reading, it seems as if in the beginning the person who is supposed to be seen as the heroic figure is always portrayed with some level of hostility in the beginning. As the reader continues, a bond becomes to form between the reader and the “heroic” character. Through reading each, it makes the reader see that in the end it

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