Paradise and Death Personal Response

“Paradise and Death” written by Eric MacKnight has me pondering over my own ideas of escape and its constant lurid temptations. Much like Odysseus’s many encounters that would inevitably let him escape his troubles I too have options for escape. My troubles may seem trivial when compared to those of the great Odysseus, he had to fight in a war that lasted 10 years, while I just have too much homework. However, this essay proposed the idea of escape, Odysseus never actually had to go home, there were many options in-between. In fact, some of the opportunities he faced as a means of escape were too good to be true. Why would someone turn down an eternity of love with a very beautiful woman, or a chance to live in the past? Both are options I would take without hesitation. My life is in no way similar to Odysseus’ yet I am constantly looking for a way to escape my troubles. Take school for an example, a never-ending struggle of education, starting when you are four and ending when you graduate, either high school, college, or university. There is always that pressure to get the highest level of education possible. After education than what? You are working until you are 60 and that is if you are lucky. I have thought about this a lot and there are several escapes that tempt even the most ambitious of us all. The most obvious of them all is to drop out of school. Why do all this work, only to continue working for the rest of your life? However, the difference between me and Odysseus is dropping out of school is frowned upon whereas Odysseus’ escapes are according to the essay “a kind of paradise”(pg.1). So why? Why don’t I just drop out of school and why doesn’t Odysseus take these simple escapes? Because life is harder than the easiest way out. An education gives life purpose, a job gives life purpose, so do the many other challenging aspects of our life, all of them give us something to live for. For me to live without school would be the most boring this ever and for Odysseus to live without felling, that is to cave into temptation, is a life not worth living. This is perfectly summed up in the last paragraph of the essay and possible my favorite sentence, “For Odysseus, for everyone, unconsciousness is death, and the only life worth living is that peculiarly human life, that life which is pain”(pg. 18).

Not only did this essay have me thinking about life’s choices it was extremely well written. The use of through analyzation, evidence, reasoning and clear writing all contribute to make a truly awe inspiring essay. When I say I do not normally like reading essays I am telling the truth, however this essay had me turning the pages faster than a novel. The one thing that makes it particularly easy to read is clear writing. Each sentence is written with one topic in mind, not overly complicated, and has plenty of evidence to support it. An example of this is on page twelve, “However, we cannot stop at remarking that life in Phaiákia is trivial, or that the Phaiákians are naive.” This is a clear topic sentence that directly outlines what will be said in the following paragraph. One thing my writing is lacking is clarity. I often have an idea in my head and then write it on the page, most of the time the idea that was in my head is only partially translated into words and clear ideas. However when I read over it all I can see is the ideas that are still in my head. Therefore this is one aspect of my writing that I could improve upon and which I have learned from reading this essay. Another thing that I could not help but notice is the amount of analyzation in a single essay. There is almost eighteen pages of it. I find this incredible and another compelling reason to read the entire essay. Analyzation is another big part of writing an essay and I would like to incorporate it as much as possible into my next piece of formal writing.