Monday December 14, 2015

The Odyssey as seen through the eyes of a Syrian refugee

The Odyssey is an ancient Greek epic poem attributed to Homer.

The Odyssey is an ancient Greek epic poem attributed to Homer. (Robert/Flickr CC)

Listen 12:08

The Odyssey by Homer is an epic tale featuring moody gods, siren songs and even a cyclops — and in the mind of Richmond Eustis, it was once a fantastical treat. 

But when the literary professor assigned the book to a group of students in Jordan, his framework changed. His pupils, asylum seekers from Syria, Iraq, and the Palestinian territories, saw their real stories reflected in the themes of death, danger and displacement. 
 
Today, Eustis and one of his students, Isra'a Sadder, join guest host Talia Schlanger to share a new angle on the 8th century B.C. comic adventure. 

Sadder says education and literature are her "only salvation". She also shares what it feels like to lose home. 

"It's like your soul is heavy, and you are just a burden." 

WEB EXTRA | For those who have never read The Odyssey, here's a six minute summary.