Finkel’s books are in a sense a modern-day Iliad and Odyssey—they follow a group of soldiers in combat in Iraq and then the same group of soldiers after they return home.
In some sense, Finkel is similar to Shay’s two books, Achilles in Vietnam and Odysseus in America, but without the connection to the Iliad and the Odyssey that Shay makes.
In you final paper, you should take one of the Finkel books and think about creating your own Achilles in Iraq and Odysseus in America. That is, we want to test Shay’s ideas by seeing how you can relate what happens to Achilles and Odysseus to events in Finkel.
The central notion you are working with is does the account of war and homecoming in Homer have a relation to war and homecoming in these recent books, yes or no?
You should use a book of Finkel and poem of Homer, along with Shay if that is helpful, in your analysis. You should use at least three or four incidents in Finkel and the corresponding incidents in Homer. Discuss your connections in detail.
Remember that this is an academic paper for a class. I am not asking you to tell about your personal experiences (not because there are not important but because I am teacher of Homer and that is our subject) but to do an analysis of how Homer and Finkel might fit together. As I said, I want you to be clever in your analysis and think of states of mind and situations, not exact comparisons since you are looking at the bronze age and the 21st century.
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