The Great Gatsby: Analyzing the Role of Women

Write an essay analyzing the role of women in The Great Gatsby, as represented by Daisy, Jordan, and Myrtle. What kind of influence or power do they wield? Consider their social positions and interactions.


The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald depicts the oppression of the women, placed as they are in a society of male dominance where they apparently enjoy high social status, a position bestowed upon them by their male counterparts. The female characters, particularly Daisy, Myrtle and Jordan are divested of their personal identities as they adapt to please the men around them. Jordan is an important exception with her building her social positions on her own merit and yet this leads to her eventual isolation. Based after the Great War in 1922, the book picturizes the flapper culture of the Roaring Twenties when though women were portrayed to be morally permissive in short skirts and liberated social habits, they were actually expected to surrender to domestic demands. 


In The Great Gatsby, in describing the social interactions of the three female protagonists, Fitzgerald uses negative capability to convey the conflict between individual personalities and society. These women are compelled to behave in ways not their own and keep individual needs aside in order to comply with the demands of society. The usage of negative capability highlights the inherent conflict in the women as they are fragmented between their personal choices and the obligation they feel to appear pleasing in their social interactions. This is apparent when Daisy says, “It makes me sad because I’ve never seen such – such beautiful shirts before.” (5,98) Daisy’s surprising outburst signifies her realization of the life she could have led had she married Gatsby. This moment speaks of Daisy’s materialism, where she emotionally breaks down at this conspicuous proof of Gatsby’s newfound wealth. But it also speaks of her strong feelings for Gatsby, and how touched she is at the lengths he went to to win her back. Similarly, Myrtle when she says, “I married him because I thought he was a gentleman. I thought he knew something about breeding, but he wasn’t fit enough to lick my shoe,” (2,37) she is torn between her husband George and the new life that Tom showcases to her. Thus, the two female characters are both bound to their social statuses because of their spouses and are not able to initiate any social elevation by themselves. In contrast, Nick comments about Jordan, “Instinctively, avoided clever, shrewd men, and now I saw that this was because she felt safer on a plane where any divergence from a code would be thought impossible.”(3,58) Jordan, aims to elevate her social position on her own without the support of men as she is aware that the men will impose restrictive duties on her, curbing her chances. Thus, in their social interactions, Daisy and Myrtle display negative capability as they are forced to choose between their personal desires and following the commands of their men in order to maintain their social positions. 


Having conveyed the lack of individual power among the female protagonists, Fitzgerald continues to depict that they draw the limited influence they have from the men who are besotted by them. He conveys through symbolism the powerlessness of these women, to which Jordan is an exception, and the limited influence that their social positions entail which is largely drawn from the male characters. Although both Daisy and Myrtle are portrayed to be beautiful women who exercise considerable influence on their male counterparts, in social situations they are depicted as completely powerless as they are not able to manipulate the situation to their own advantage. This can be seen when Tom and Gatsby confront each other over Daisy and the latter in utter helplessness keeps requesting that they should all disperse and go home. Ironically, though Daisy is the subject of the confrontation, both men refuse to take what she says into account. Similarly, when Nick, Tom, Myrtle and her friends visit New York City, just the mention of Daisy from Myrtle makes Tom erupt and he strikes her. Through this action, Tom proves that Myrtle is powerless compared to him and she holds less significance in his life than his married wife. 


The limited power that the female characters possess is derived from the male characters and is portrayed in symbols throughout the novel. Thus, in the fourth chapter, Daisy gropes “around in a waste-basket she had with her on the bed and pulled out the string of pearls. “Take ’em downstairs and give ’em back to whoever they belong to. Tell ’em all Daisy’s change’ her mine. Say ‘Daisy’s change’ her mine!’.” (4,74) In this flashback, narrated by Jordan, the reader learns about Daisy’s past and how she came to marry Tom, despite being in love with Gatsby. In fact, she seems to care about Gatsby enough that after receiving a letter from him, she threatens to call off her marriage to Tom. However,  despite this brief rebellion, for the sake of her public image, she is quickly put back together by Jordan and her maid in preparation for her wedding. The dress and the pearls symbolize Daisy fitting back into her prescribed social role. And indeed, the next day she marries Tom “without so much as a shiver,” showing her reluctance to question the place in society dictated by the men around her. Similarly, in the fifth chapter, Nick describes Myrtle as they make their way to New York,  “Mrs. Wilson had changed her costume some time before and was now attired in an elaborate afternoon dress of cream colored chiffon, which gave out a continual rustle as she swept about the room. With the influence of the dress her personality had also undergone a change.”(2,33) Through this, the reader can see how Myrtle transforms from her more physical persona into that of someone desperate to come off as richer than she actually is. The dress symbolizes the power that Tom can bequeath to Myrtle and how without his presents and association with her, she would be nothing. Again in contrast, there is Jordan who seems to enjoy considerable influence on the other characters as she moves the plot by her actions. She often leaves hints or exposes secrets like when she mentions to Gatsby, “The rumour is that that’s Tom’s girl on the telephone” (7,110) indicating that she is aware that Tom is unfaithful to Daisy. Such actions symbolize the power and influence Jordan has as an individual, to the point where the male characters, particularly Gatsby rely on her to gain personal information of others. With her reputation as a professional golfer, she holds Gatsby’s trust. Therefore, both Myrtle and Daisy do not have any personal power though they have a limited amount of influence over their lovers, while in contrast, Jordan holds power and influence over her male counterparts. 


Lastly, to further depict the emasculation of the female characters, Fitzgerald objectifies both Myrtle and Daisy through visual imagery, often connecting them to their social status. However, to contrast these two characters, Jordan is not objectified or described in any way which would  make her an image of a social class.  In the fourth chapter, Gatsby says, “Her voice is full of money,” (7,115) showing that he explicitly ties Daisy and her voice to wealth. This particular line is crucial, as the image it depicts is one connecting Daisy to the idea of the American Dream. Rather than an individual, she is portrayed as the exhilarating pursuit of wealth that all the characters are involved in. In comparison, Myrtle is sexually objectified due to her lower class, where in the last chapter, “Michaelis and this man reached her first but when they had torn open her shirtwaist still damp with perspiration, they saw that her left breast was swinging loose like a flap and there was no need to listen for the heart beneath. The mouth was wide open and ripped at the corners as though she had choked a little in giving up the tremendous vitality she had stored so long.” (7,131)) In her violent death, Myrtle’s physicality and vitality are emphasized even while the image remains overtly sexual. Through this moment, Fitzgerald portrays Myrtle as one who represents her social class and in presenting her mutilated body, he connects her to the idea of promiscuous sex. In contrast, descriptions of Jordan do not slot her into a social class. She is described as “polite reciprocal curiosity out of a wan, charming, discontented face.” (1,16). As an individual Jordan stands on her own and is not connected to her social class while Daisy and Myrtle’s individuality is often diminished as they are objectified by their social status. 


In conclusion, in the novel, there is no specific role for the women protagonists other than to drive the plot through their presence. Since they lack empowerment and have no or limited influence over the males, they are reduced to subsidiary roles of providing love interest to the men and a motivation for them to achieve their dreams. Their social interactions merely reflect their economic status and thereby these women provide a class structure rather than being strong individuals on their own merit. In the case of Jordan, though she is not objectified or disempowered like Daisy or Myrtle, but because of the harsh facade that she insists on maintaining, she ends up lonely and without a partner. Through her character, Fitzgerald expresses his opinion how these kinds of women would end up in the social structure that the American society of the time offered. In contrast, even in death George follows Myrtle while Daisy returns to Tom. Thus, through the roles of these women Fitzgerald concludes that it is powerful to be powerless.

The Great Gatsby Motifs and Symbols

Time and Obsession: F. Scott Fitzgerald uses the symbolism of relationships frequently to elaborate on how love, desire and sex are major motives for almost every character in The Great Gatsby. However, all the relationships mentioned are never depicted as healthy or stable. Focusing specifically on the relationship between Gatsby and Daisy, it is evident in the very first chapter that Daisy (without Gatsby’s character being revealed to the audience) perks up at the sound of his name, noticeably remembering him after many years. However, when the pair reunite in Chapter 5,  “We haven’t met for many years,” said Daisy, her voice as matter-of-fact as it could ever be. “Five years next November.”(Gatsby) (5.69-70) it is apparent that Daisy’s memories of Gatsby are more abstract and clouded, while Gatsby has been so infatuated with her that he knows the exact month they parted and has clearly been counting down the days until their reunion. There is another moment in the scene when Nick returns after the initial awkward re-introduction, he comes back to find them talking emotionally. However, Gatsby has transformed, as he is radiant and glowing, “He literally glowed; without a word or a gesture” (5.87). In contrast, Daisy is not so thoroughly transformed, except for her overflowing tears. Although the narrator, Nick pays closer attention to Gatsby than Daisy, it is apparent that Gatsby is more intensely engaged in the relationship. Their relationship also reflects the idea of change as much as Gatsby wants to repeat the past, he can’t. In the present, Daisy has moved on and he can never return to that beautiful, perfect moment when he kissed her for the first time and wedded all her hopes and dreams to her. Thus proving that over time, Gatsby’s affection for Daisy has transformed into obsession while Daisy has learned to move past and maintains her relationship with Tom, her husband. 


Manipulation and Materialism: The characters in The Great Gatsby are enraptured by materialism and manipulate their surroundings to satiate their needs and maintain their social status. This elaborates the hollowness of the upper class which is one of the most important and more explored themes in the novel. It emphasizes the sociology of wealth and specifically how the characters manipulate their position in society to move up the social ladder. In The Great Gatsby, the West Egg represents the newly rich (such as Gatsby) whereas the East Egg represents the old aristocrats (The Buchanan Family). The significance of these two ends represents the difference in lifestyle and consumerism. The author portrays those in West Egg to be vulgar, pretentious, gaudy and lacking in social grace and constantly. This is evident in the novel as Gatsby himself lives in a monstrously adorned mansion, hosts extravagant parties every weekend, drives expensive cars and intentionally rejects invitations from upper-class families just to appear to have more important engagements. “And I like large parties. They’re so intimate. At small parties, there isn’t any privacy.” (Jordan, Chapter 3) Gatsby throws his parties in honour of Daisy, they also represent the life the pair could have had together, in a big house with lots of money and friends and luxuries. By inviting all the wealthy people from the area, Gatsby aims to manipulate Daisy into leaving her wealthy husband Tom and start a new life with him. He even makes a point of inviting some of Daisy’s best friends, but due to her aristocratical lifestyle, Daisy never comes. Gatsby’s rapid consumerism and manipulating tendencies eventually lead him to his demise in the last chapter where George Wilson shoots him as he believes that Gatsby killed his wife Myrtle. Gatsby in his willingness to manipulate every situation to his own benefit took the blame for Myrtle’s death so that Daisy was not held responsible.


Weather: The author also utilizes the weather as an affective backdrop in The Great Gatsby to match the emotional narrative tone of the story. Gatsby and Daisy’s genuine relationship starts in the pouring rain, proving the awkwardness of their refound affection. Their love reawakens just as the sun beings to come out and Nick returns to the scene. To contrast, Gatsby’s climactic confrontation with Tom occurs on the hottest day of the summer, under a scorching sun, “The next day was broiling, almost the last, certainly the warmest day of the summer” (pg 114). Daisy exclaims, “But it’s so hot,”, on the verge of tears, “And everything’s so confused. Let’s all go to town!” as an excuse for them to make their ill-fated journey into the city. Here, the heat operates and oppresses on both a literal and a symbolic level. It causes irritability and fractiousness in the characters. The weather also symbolizes Daisy and Gatsby’s relationship. It is when the weather is at it’s hottest that Gatsby’s and Daisy’s relationship reaches a climax where Daisy decides to chose Tom (who has a better social status) over Gatsby. What started on a rainy day with a great promise of romance comes to an end on this hot day on an abrupt note.


English Reflection Great Gatsby Unseen

Today in English, we had the first page of our new text The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald as an unseen practice paper. It was difficult to adjust to the sudden change, as we had to analyse the text academically (as we would have to in the exam). My mind felt fragmented as I was able to explain my points verbally to my classmate, but was unable to write the ideas down in a (proper) paragraph form. My point was that the use of point of view has a large impact on the audience’s understanding of the story. As The Great Gatsby is written in the third person, it is in the perspective of Nick, who (although portrayed to be as the protagonist) is simply a bystander in the story which is actually about Gatsby and Daisy. The perspective of Nick (the narrator) is essentially flawed, as it exposes his personal opinions, thoughts and experiences to the reader, which influences their perception of the conflict (However, the same could have been said for all of the characters assuming the that book was written from the other characters’ perspectives as well). For example, in this text, Nick mentions something his father said, “Whenever you feel like criticizing any one,” he told me, “just remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages that you’ve had.” – this line makes the reader self-conscious about the way they perceive people. This also conveys that Nick is going to maintain an impartial stance in his narration of the story. Yet, as the passage progresses, this perspective changes as Nick first claims “I’m inclined to reserve all judgments” but later says, “I come to the admission that it has a limit”. This change in opinion as the narrator is unsettling as the audiences’ opinion changes in accordance with Nick’s. The use of point of view has a large impact on audiences as, if there is only one point of view, the audience is forced to follow the narrator’s thoughts and look through a single lens. Whereas, if there are multiple perspectives, the audience is allowed to witness the same scene through various standpoints. Hence to improve my writing skills in structured timed essay forms, I will have to practice more regularly with the texts I have now. 

“Teller-Proof” Stories Gore by Sarah Ellis

Gore by Sarah Ellis



Twins are known to have a very special bond. From the moment of their birth they are so identical they are almost equivalent to soulmates. Their relationship is linked by feelings of love and kinship which makes both halves feel like the same individual. It is said that twins that were separated at birth and meet as adults are able to discover an absurd amount of coincidences in their lives. They have more in common than they think, from the names of their wives and children to the clothes that their best men wore at their wedding. They’ll come to realize that they have the same breed of pets and use the same specific brand of toiletries. Thus, proving that the relationship between twins is one of the strongest connections in the world. 


What a load of horse crap. 


Soul-mate? Confidante?


 God forbid. 


Amy can’t even fathom that she and Lucas are in the same family, let alone being twins. To tell the truth, she can’t even believe that they’re the same species. In her eyes, Lucas is essentially an ‘unevolved thugoid’ and a detestable sibling. Amy is almost too sure that Lucas managed to obtain all of the nutrition in the womb, making him stronger, faster and bigger leaving her frail and incapacitated. However, as the years have passed, Amy’s two areas of superior power are her extensive vocabulary and her gift for voice impersonation. 


Lucas attacks without provocation. The other day, Amy was sitting reading. She was finally able to read a copy of R.L Tankard from the library. The story is essentially about this girl who has a babysitting job in an apartment building on the twenty-sixth floor. When she arrives at the apartment, the baby is already asleep, so she hasn’t seen it yet. While watching TV, she thinks she hears a noise from the baby’s room….


She muted the TV for a minute and in the sudden silence, she heard the noise again, but louder. It was a heavy wet noise, like the sound of a big piece of raw meat being flung to the floor. She stared at the door to the nursery. It was outlined in a band of crepuscular light. She stood up and, with her heart pounding in her ears, she approached the room-




Lucas leans over and snatched the book from Amy’s hands and runs in the bathroom, the sound of the closing door, echoing through the house. Amy pleads to have her book back as Lucas threatens to rip the pages of the book one by one, and flush them down the toilet. 


Amy tries to deal with him, even going as far as to doing his chores. However, Lucas, microbrain that he is, isn’t falling for it. After attempting to convince Lucas to return her book, she collapses on the couch in despair. Amy feels weaponless, like a —. 


Well, not quite. 


Suddenly, there’s a knock at the door. Amy rushes to answer the door, as the knocking grows louder. There are two, no, three of them. Faceless, hooded beings crowded together, pressed up against the door. This is Amy’s first mistake, leaving the door open a split second too late to slam the door. They are inside. They are silent. Amy rushes to the bathroom door, violently pushing at the handle, begging to be let it. Lucas laughs from inside as the hooded figures slowly make their way towards Amy. 


A cold sweat breaks out over Amy’s body. The hooded figure’s icy fingers wrap around her wrist, slowly dragging her away from the door, her hand slipping from the handle, nails scratching against the surface of the floor. The door rattles. 


Amy’s bloodcurdling scream leaves Lucas silent behind the door. She escapes from the figure’s grasp, beating its masked face. Chairs and side tables fall as she crashes past them. Magazines fly through the air and crash against the walls. She dashes to the telephone just outside the hall and dials Emergency. After a century of rings, someone finally answers. 


“Do you wish police, ambulance or fire?”


Amy is choked with sobs as she begs for the police. 


Click. The line goes dead. Amy drops the receiver as the cold, wet fingers wrap around her neck. Paralyzed with fear Amy drops to the ground like a stone and buries her face with her hands. The bitter cold courses through Amy’s body, forcing her to become one of them. With her last breath, she begs “Lucas, break the window. Get out. For pity’s sake, don’t come out here.” 


Then silence. The only sound is the telephone receiver thudding against the wall. 


Lucas calls out to her, to receive no response. His voice shrinks as he calls her name. The telephone’s humanoid voice rings through the noiseless hall. 


The bathroom door opens slowly. Amy sits, curled up behind it. She holds her breath. Two steps, that’s all she needs. Two steps. 




Two steps it is. Amy grabs the door, swinging around it, jumping into the bathroom and turning the lock. Success! Victory! Amy settles down on the bathroom floor, holding the book to her chest. She catches her breath and frantically flips through the pages. 


So, what was in the baby’s room?


Independent Reading (Imagine Me Gone) and Fun Home

Over the last couple of weeks, I finished reading a couple of books, Imagine me gone (Adam Haslett), A Clockwork Orange (Anthony Burgess) and Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring (JRR. Tolkein). 


Imagine Me Gone is essentially about a depressed man who to a certain extent is unable to find happiness as the people around him constantly let him down. The protagonist Michael finds it impossible to find a lover due to his mental condition which he inherited from his late father. He becomes obsessed with women who are unattainable because they are married or lesbians. His obsession causes them to avoid him at times. This increases his anxiety. He also has problems getting into college and later graduate school. While he finally gets in both, he does not finish. He drops out of college and a mental breakdown forces him to leave graduate school and move in with his mother. Throughout his life, he has taken out loans with no prospects of being able to pay them back. This also adds to his anxiety. Medication is the only thing that allows him to cope, but the more medication he takes, the more he needs. When Michael has anxiety attacks, he turns to his family for help. They attempt to support him as he chases after the girls who do not show up for dates and he feels as though he cannot breathe. Supporting him often means ignoring others or comes at a financial expense. At the same time, they are trying to manage their own lives. His sister, Celia is not happy with her current job and has problems committing to her live-in boyfriend. While his brother, Alec is gay and also has commitment issues. Michael’s inability to pay back his loans burdens his mother. Alec decides to intervene and proposes to help Michael slowly get off his medication. Michael agrees to give it a try as he wants what his family want for him. However, Michael cannot cope without his medication and dies, leaving a message for his family, where they finally understand him. Michael’s life has a very obvious connection with Fun Home’s Bruce Bechdel. Fun Home hones in on how Alison and Bruce are only able to connect in the later part of her teenage years through her love of books. The book focuses on the relationship and the possible causes that led to Bruce’s suicidal death as well as aspects of him that Alison did not know as a child. This is similar to Michael’s siblings who are unable to completely understand his problems, not until he dies. The misunderstanding between Michael and his family is equally evident in the relationship between Alison and her father where Bruce built walls around himself to hide or imprison himself behind. Like Bruce, Michael seems to be lost behind those walls and bursts out in various monstrous ways but never seems at ease with who he is.

A Low Art from the Penelopiad (2006) by Margaret Atwood

In the prose A Low Art, from The Penelopiad (2006), Margaret Atwood’s creative retelling of The Odyssey is a monologue of Penelope’s point of view in the first person. Atwood conveys Penelope’s escape from her oppression and her life with Odysseus. 


The conflict in this prose is Penelope’s frustration of having to be bound to a life with Odysseus while she was alive. It is a monologue of her realization where she regrets not understanding Odysseus’ true nature, “He got away with everything, which was another of his specialities: getting away”. She describes her husband as tricky and a liar, yet she had only realized this once she was nothing but in a state of “bonelessness, listlessness, breathlessness.” where she realizes her mistakes in refusing to see the darker side of her relationship with Odysseus. The monologue shows the amount of freedom Penelope now has, but only after her death. However, Atwood is not only highlighting the intense amount of oppression Penelope experienced but she is also discussing how it is often that women, in general, are subjected to living to submission or docility. She is describing how her defences were fragile and brittle as she played the role of an oppressed woman who, “kept my mouth shut” and “didn’t dig deep”. Penelope fell into an abyss which gave her a fabricated “happy ending” where she would shut out anything that told her otherwise, 


Due to this, her action of “keeping the right doors locked”, later led her to realize that because she refused to speak out against Odysseus, she began to have no spine of her own, or as she mentions, she had no mouth through which she could speak. Penelope’s circumstance of realising her mistakes so late allowed certain truths to be revealed, truths which she herself (when alive) did not want to accept. She also realizes that her action of resisting the temptation of seduction from other suitors created a stereotype for all women, that they must always be obedient and faithful. Her life’s example was a “stick used to beat other women with”, it became a story for yarn-spinners to spin into a perfect stereotype for women. 


The monologue which is in a passive-aggressive tone is essentially a moral lesson for Penelope as she realizes her faults during her lifetime. 


On First Looking into Chapman’s Homer (1816) By John Keats


Following the conventional form of a sonnet, which is often used to express love, Keats expresses his admiration for Chapman’s version of Homer’s epic “The Odyssey”. Keats uses his poem as an opportunity to express the importance of appreciating poems which touch and deeply move a reader. In the poem, he explains how through the many “goodly states and kingdoms seen” he was able to find something in the literary world which satisfied him and gave him a reason to continue searching for more stories to unravel. More importantly, how he was yet to find more poems which would give him the creative satisfaction he craved. He expresses that of all the different things he has seen, he was never able to “breathe its pure serene” admitting that he was unable to find fulfilment until Chapman’s Homer.  


In poetry, he has found the gold that Cortez, and the other conquistadors he had read about in William Robertson’s History of America, which Cortez had searched for so hastily. He also alludes to the fact that Cortez is “stout,” that is, fearless, and that he is alert, “with eagle eyes.” So much so that his men stand about him in silent awe, looking “at each other with a wild surmise.” Keats secures this idea to help express his own feelings of having made a discovery with the world of poetry. 


Keats expresses his appreciation of Chapman’s version through the line, “felt I like some watcher of the skies when a new planet swims into his ken;” alluding that he was finally able to find something he was able to hold on to. He was able to find something which brought a new perspective to his life because of the way it was revealed. The word “skies” implying that the version had broadened his perspective and that he was it was like heaven, giving him a realm better than those of gold. Keats is now able to venture and explore with his new discovery and this new world he has discovered for himself, allowing him to treat literature in ways that he hasn’t before.

Fathers and Sons: The Odyssey

The Odyssey

Fathers and Sons 

Ananya Sengupta 


The Odyssey has many life learnings. There is an extensive number of themes which are represented through the twenty-four stories. However, a theme that interests me the most is the relationship between father and son. Throughout the epic, it is clear that the father and son relationship is one of the most treasured relationships to the Greek people. Although the story is about Odysseus’ homecoming, there are multiple father and son relationships which are affected due to his absence. 


As Odysseus is the protagonist of the story, the most noticeable father and son relationship is between Telemachus and Odysseus. However, the least prominent relationship would be between Poseidon and his Cyclops son, Polyphemus. In this story, fathers and sons stand up for each other and support one another. For some reason, whether they have just met each other for the first time, or have known each other for a long time, fathers and sons feel obligated to protect each other. 


This interaction can be seen between Polyphemus and his father Poseidon. Polyphemus was blinded by Odysseus and didn’t want Odysseus to get away with what he has done. However, because he was blind he couldn’t punish Odysseus himself. Hence, he called out Poseidon for help. Although the intensity of their relationship is unexplored, it is assumed that they don’t know each other personally as Polyphemus says, “Listen, Earth-Shaker, Blue-Haired Lord Poseidon: acknowledge me your son, and be my father. Grant that Odysseus, the city-sacker will never go back home…”(9-530). Nevertheless, even though they don’t know each other, Poseidon takes action and helps his son. Poseidon hears Polyphemus’ prayer and almost destroys Odysseus’ ship. Ever since then, Poseidon has held a grudge towards Odysseus and makes sure that the protagonist will suffer before he manages to reach home. The father and son relationship shows that no matter the conditions, they will always stick together. 


Another example of father and son relationships is the most prominent bond, Odysseus and his son Telemachus. In the Odyssey, the father and son spend a lot of time apart and it is through their distance, that they develop respect and appreciation for one another. In this case, Odysseus built the distance by being away from home for twenty years. Telemachus decided to go on a journey and look for Odysseus. It is during this journey that Telemachus is able to prove his worth to his father. The unique bond between them strengthens as Telemachus “desired to connect all along” (285) with his father. Telemachus never wanted to believe that his father was dead and when the opportunity offered itself, he risked it all to find him. Through Telemachus’ story, Odysseus saw himself in his son. There are some secrets which may not be sufficiently articulated by the father but are visible to their sons because of their natural bond. 


According to Homer, every man should have a son who should avenge for him when he is not present. A son should look at his father as his role model whereas the father should protect his son from any harm. In this case, Odysseus protects Telemachus by killing the suitors while Telemachus does all he can to help out, and make sure that they succeeded.


Lastly, I feel that the most important “father-son” relationship is between Telemachus and Eumaeus. Although Eumaeus is a humble swineherd, after Telemachus’ return he exclaims, “Sweet light! You have come back, Telemachus. I thought that I would never see you anymore, after you sailed to Pylos. My dear child, come in, let me enjoy the sight of you now you are back.”(16-25). To which Telemachus responded with “Grandpa, yes” suggesting that as Odysseus was not present in Telemachus’ upbringing, there was an alternate father figure, that being Eumaeus the swineherd. In this scene, Homer portrayed how although his actual father Odysseus was absent, there were other fatherlike figures who were supportive of Telemachus. Thus proving that the relationship between “father and son” will always be present between men and boys regardless of the circumstances.  


Telemachus’ journey to adulthood was incomplete and slow, making him the most vulnerable member in his family: as the suitors plot to murder him. Although physically, Telemachus is of age, he seems to lack psychological maturity as he did not have the support of his father. In the course of finding his biological father, Telemachus meets two-alternative father figures, the controlling Nestor and the rich and narcissistic Menelaus. Incidentally, both of these men who echo traits which are present in Odysseus. They teach Telemachus the skill of hospitality which is an essential aspect of “elite masculine adulthood”. However, only his real father Odysseus can help Telemachus achieve what he wants which is a position of greater power in his own household. 


In this story, fathers and sons connect over revenge or vengeance. When Odysseus ultimately tells Telemachus who he really is, the two men share an embrace and immediately begin to discuss how to enact their revenge. Odysseus and Telemachus’ bond over vengeance and this is the ultimate connection to their relationship, similar to Poseidon supporting Polyphemus by taking revenge on Odysseus.  

*Odysseus meets his father Laertes after returning home.

The reason why I have included this particular illustration (drawn by me) is because it represents all the elements of the father-son relationship I have mentioned in my essay. For instance, like Odysseus, Laertes too had missed a lot of time with his son. However, he still supported Odysseus after killing the suitors and proceeded to help him fend off the families  of the dead suitors like Poseidon had supported Polyphemus