English II Basic Mid-Point PARCC Assessment


General Directions – Today you will analyze an excerpt from a piece of classical literature, The Odyssey by Homer, and an excerpt from a modern piece of literature, The Sea of Monsters by Rick Riordan. As you read these texts, you will gather information and answer questions about how Riordan draws on and transforms The Odyssey so you can write a literary analysis essay.

From The Odyssey by Homer
1 Then Circe said to me, “Listen while I explain the course of your journey so that you will know how to proceed without further suffering. First of all, you will come upon the two Sirens. Anyone who is foolish enough to approach them will never return. They sit upon their island and tempt those who sail nearby with their beautiful songs, and anyone who cannot resist them becomes their victim. He joins the decaying bodies and mounds of bones that surround them.”
5 “Before your swift ship comes upon the Sirens, you must fit soft wax into the ears of all of your men so they cannot hear the Sirens’ sweet voices as they row past. If you wish to hear their songs yourself, stand with your back against the mast of your black ship and command your companions to tie your hands and your feet to it, fastening the ropes to the ends of the mast beyond your reach. Tell them that when you plead with them to untie you, they must instead bind you even more securely…
9 When Dawn made the new day light, my companions and I set forth once more upon our journey. As my men sat upon their benches and rowed over the wine-dark sea, Circe sent a good wind to hasten us along our way. I repeated to my companions the advice that the fair-haired goddess had given me. I had just finished when the wind quieted down, and the water became so calm that it seemed as if a god had put the waves to sleep. We were approaching the island of the Sirens.
13 As my men furled and stowed the sail and then started rowing, I used my sharp, bronze sword to cut a large round piece of wax into many small pieces. I softened the pieces of wax and placed them in the ears of all of my companions, and they tied me to the mast as the goddess had counseled.
16 The Sirens noticed our swift black ship when we were about a shout’s distance from the island. “Come to us, noble Odysseus, honored one among the long-haired Greeks! Listen to our song and become a wiser man, for we sing about things yet to come as well as about things that are past.”
19 As I heard their lovely voices, I motioned with my hand for my companions to untie me, but instead two of my men bound me more closely with other ropes, while the rest rowed steadily past the Sirens. Once I could no longer hear their singing, I motioned for my men to remove the wax pieces from their ears. When they had done this, they removed my bonds.

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