The five characteristics of an epic are the inclusion of: supernatural forces interacting with humans; acts of courage or valor; characters who have some type of national importance; a tone and voice that make everything sound important, even if it's not; and a setting that is regional, national or global in nature. An example of an epic would be the "Iliad," the "Odyssey," the "Aeneid" and "Paradise Lost."
These five characteristics of an epic are illustrated in the character of Odysseus in Homer's the "Odyssey." The first characteristic is exemplified by Odysseus taking on extraordinary deeds that are not the deeds of a normal man. This makes him a larger-than-life character and gives him a national importance.
The secondary characteristic is exemplified by the journey that Odysseus takes that requires him to transverse nations. The third characteristic is exemplified by Odysseus proving his abilities and courage by fighting his way out of trouble as well as using clever wording. The fourth characteristic is shown in the conversation found between Zeus and Athena, where even a petty matter is given a great gravity cementing the sustained tone and language throughout the epic. The fifth characteristic is shown when the gods, such as Athena, intervene during Odysseus' journey.Learn More
"Tracker" by Gary Paulsen is about a boy named John Borne who is forced to take over his family's annual deer hunt. When John's grandfather gets sick and only has months to live, John assumes the important role of providing for his family.Full Answer >
The theme of a short story is essentially the way that a writer is able to communicate with the readers on a common ground. The theme can be different if the short story is meant to be a moral story or if the short story is one that is fictitious.Full Answer >
There are several websites that provide free book notes and chapter summaries including Spark Notes, CliffsNotes and Shmoop. Spark Notes and CliffsNotes provide literary resources, while Shmoop offers help in several subject areas.Full Answer >
"The Devil and Tom Walker," a short story by Washington Irving, tells of a man who sells his soul to the devil, known as Old Scratch, in exchange for great wealth. He becomes a usurer, swindling money from other people, until he is old, and the devil comes on a black horse and carries him away.Full Answer >