Introduction

A Well-Known Family

There once was a young man with a very successful father. His father came from a prominent family, but by his own industry and wits he, the father, had risen to become one of the most famous leaders of his time.

As a result, the young man, his son, grew up revering his father's name but not really knowing him as a person. As he became a young adult, he felt unsure of himself. He doubted whether he could ever accomplish much in the world, especially when compared with his father.

Luckily for this family, the young man's mother—who endured years of loneliness, far from her ambitious husband—remained a rock of constancy. And both the son and the father undertook long personal journeys to overcome their distance from each other. After many toils, the father returned home and repaired his marriage. The son underwent his own struggles, and when he at last reunited with his father, he did so both as a son and as a man of his own.

This is not the story of one of the many families with whom we have worked over the years—though, with a few changes here and there, it could apply to quite a few of them. It is the story of The Odyssey, the epic poem composed by Homer almost 3,000 years ago. The Odyssey recounts the wanderings of the hero Odysseus as he struggles to return home to the island of Ithaca from the battlefield of Troy. It also tells of the struggles of Odysseus's son Telemachus, who leaves home and goes on a quest to find his father and himself. ...

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