“Paradise and Death” written by Eric Macknight, provides a new perspective on Odysseus’ adventures. I found the comparisons of life and death to be very thought-provoking and it caused me to reflect on my own life. I find that when life is hard it is easy for me to get caught up thinking about simpler times in the past. But this does not allow me to progress into the future. And with no future, there is no life, only death. Another comparison that the essay had me reflect on was the notion of immortality and death. We talked about this construct in class and surprisingly I was thinking about it for the rest of the day. Kalypso (a death goddess) offers Odysseus the chance to be young forever. In one manner this can be perceived as her offering death to Odysseus because his life will never progress past that point, and he will never see his family again. This concept of immortality of being young forever is very prominent in pop culture today. Many young people including myself have the idea that being young forever with no responsibilities would be ideal. But now having read “Paradise and Death” and discussing it in class I have a different perspective on what it means to be young forever. Odysseus’ ability to escape death countless times is an admirable character trait. He is offered an easier way of life with no hardships like living in the past only and being young forever, but he does not accept these offers.
Not only does “Paradise and Death” bring up intriguing points it is also exemplary written. Reading this essay, I learned new things about how to write an essay correctly. I now know that it might be a good idea to explain what is happening in the text before inserting a quote from the text. This way the quote does not seem awkwardly placed in the essay. As well as providing organization and clarity to an essay, transition sentences are very helpful. A clever example of this in the essay is “It is after these traumatic misadventures that they arrive on Kirkê’s island” (pg. 4). Here we can see a transition sentence that helps move the essay from one point to another. Another point about quotes that I learned was it is not necessary for every paragraph to have a supporting quote from the text. Sometimes when I am writing a response, I try to force quotes that don’t belong into my writing because I thought they were necessary. Overall, after reading “Paradise and Death” I gained knowledge on how to write an essay and I hope that this improves my writing skills.