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Wacky Wordsmith

Name: Javier Gamboa

Text: The Odyssey
Date: August 8, 2010
Books: 5-8

Wacky Wordsmith: As the author of the two most famous epics in ancient Greek
literature, Homer helped define the Western World's vocabulary landscape. Your task is
to look for at least TEN WONDER WORDS, important words or phrases in the text which
you deem crucial to the text. If you find words that are puzzling or unfamiliar, list them
down in the second table, “NEW TO MY VOCABULARY”. Record the meaning that you
came up with and indicate its significance. Include words that you consider significant or
crucial to the text. When your circle meets, discuss the words, the reason(s) why you
think they are Wonder Words, and how you came up with their meaning. Ask them to
suggest additional Wonder Words to your list.

“WONDER Book # Definition and Significance

Definition: a passionate expression of grief
or sorrow
Significance: Despite being on Calypso's
beautiful island paradise, Odysseus is still
lamentation 5
considered to be punished and in agony
because he would much prefer being in his
kingdom than living a carefree life with
Definition: a goatskin shield attributed to
Zeus and Athena used for protection
Significance: Hermes describes Zeus as
aegis-bearing 5
such because just by bearing this symbol
signifies Zeus' authority and how Hermes
cannot defy him.
Definition: bitterness at being treated
Significance: Calypso believed that the
resentment 5
gods felt great bitterness and annoyance
towards her for sleeping with Odysseus and
keeping him detained on her island.
wretched 5 Definition: very unhappy or unfortunate
Significance: Odysseus is described as
such due to all the hardships he had faced
from the Trojan War up until that point in
time, in which he still hadn't made it back to
his homeland.
Definition: action of transporting someone
from one place to another
Significance: Odysseus is seeking
transport back to his kingdom, and is given
conveyance 5
this first by Calypso, who helped him build a
raft to leave Ogygia, and later on by
Alkinoos, who allowed his seafaring people
to escort Odysseus home.
Definition: hard-hearted, harsh, uncaring
Significance: Calypso argued that she had
not a spirit of iron in her heart, and that she
“spirit of iron” 5
was kind-hearted and wished for Odysseus
to be happy, thus allowing him to return
Definition: someone who has escaped a
place to avoid harm or persecution
Significance: Odysseus was considered a
fugitive 5
fugitive from Poseidon's wrath as he was
able to escape the wrath of the earthshaker
with his life.
Definition: to beg and plead for help
Significance: Odysseus needed to clasp
“clasp her knees” 6 Nausikaa, and later Arete's knees as a sign
of being at their mercy, and petitioning
them to aid him in his endeavors.
Definition: very unfortunate and having a
tragic life
Significance: Odysseus had endured a lot
long-suffering 7
of trials and difficulties and had not had a
peaceful life unplagued by agony and
suffering for more than two decades.
Definition: a drink poured out as offering
to a deity
Significance: Alkinoos payed tribute to the
libation 7 gods for their feast and for their guest,
Odysseus, whom they welcomed into their
dwelling, as a sign of respect and
appreciation to the gods.
Definition: someone belonging to a foreign
Significance: Odysseus was mocked by
alien 8 Euryalos for being old and not from that
area, as Euryalos thought that Odysseus
was inferior to the Phaiakians, much to
Odysseus' chagrin.

“NEW TO MY Book # Definition and Significance

Definition: deemed to important or
valuable to interfere with
Significance: Nestor's kingdom of Pylos
sacrosanct 5 was described as such, possibly due to how
peaceful and great the city was, thus the
gods did not want to meddle with the city's
Definition: a seabird that flies lowly over
the surface of the water far from shore
shearwater 5 Significance: Hermes is likened to this bird
as he flies directly over the water when
journeying to Calypso's island.
Definition: a thick piece wood
billets 5 Significance: Billets of cedar were used in
the hearth in Calypso's cave.
Definition: a goatskin shield attributed to
Zeus and Athena used for protection
Significance: Hermes describes Zeus as
aegis-bearing 5
such because just by bearing this shield
signifies Zeus' authority and how Hermes
cannot defy him.
Definition: a tool similar to an ax used for
cutting and shaping wood
adze 5 Significance: Calypso gave this to
Odysseus to aid him in chopping and
procuring timber for the raft.
Definition: a tool used for boring holes in
auger 5
Significance: Calypso supplied Odysseus
with this to help in building the raft.
Definition: a peg of wood used for holding
parts of structures together
dowels 5
Significance: Odysseus crafted these to
make the raft more stable and secure.
Definition: a seabird known for catching
fish by plunge-diving
gannet 5 Significance: Ino, a goddess of the sea,
was likened to this as she is able to swiftly
traverse the sea.
Definition: lively, full of energy
sprightly 6 Significance: These are how Alkinoos'
sons, all bachelors, were described.
Definition: a band of sculpted/painted
decoration on the wall near the ceiling
frieze 7
Significance: A cobalt frieze encircled the
halls of Alkinoos' high-roofed house.
Definition: showing callous and improper
casual or cheerful indifference
Significance: Odysseus, angered by
blithe 8
Euryalos' arrogance and insolence, called
him out for such brash and improper
Definition: clever devices used to trick and
Significance: Hephaestus was mentioned
artifice 8 to have outsmarted Ares by artifice when he
crafted fastenings that caught Ares being
adulterous with Hephaestus' wife,
Aphrodite, in bed.