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Troy & Ithaka Teacher Guide

Troy & Ithaka Teacher Guide

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Categories:Types, School Work
Published by: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt on Oct 18, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Smithsonian Magazin
by Adèle Geras
Praise and Honors for 
An ALA Best Book for Young Adults
uisers Weey
Best Cidrens Boo o te Year
Smithsonian Magazine 
Notable Book for Children
A Carnegie Medal FinalistWitread ward Finaist
Boston Globe–Horn Boo
k Honor BookA New York Public Library Book for the Teen Age
Wit exceptional grace an enormous energy, Geras recreates te sagao te Trojan War rom a eminist perspective . . . Captivating.
Puisers Weey
starre review)
“Geras handles both her chosen perspective and her subject’s grand themeswit aplom.— 
Te Horn Boo
starre review)A sexy, sweeping tale, lle wit rama, sassy umor, an vivily imagineomestic etails.”
Delivers te sack o Troy as an amitious, cinematic affair.
Te New Yor Times Boo Review 
Praise for 
Geras once again sows er skill at asioning multiimensional caracters rommythological figures and making them accessible to a 21st-century audience . . . Afresh, thought-provoking twist to the classic tale.”— 
Publishers Weekly
(starred review)Fille wit intrigue an suteruge an replete wit visits rom te gos, tisvisceral, lusty, tragic retelling will raw oler teen reaers.”— 
“Mysterious, multilayered, and well developed, this interpretation of Ithaka . . . wille an irresistile raw or Greek myt ans, romance reaers, an tose wo enjoystrong caracter evelopment along wit teir attle scenes.”— 
Te Buetin
“Geras masterfully weaves her own story . . . while remaining true to the spirit of Homer’s epic.”— 
TroIthakTheIlia The Ilia Itha The Ilia 
are companion novels appropriate for readers in
roy y
grades nine through twelve, or students ages fourteen to eighteen.The books are inspired by Homer’s epic poems,
he Iliad The 
his guide was created for use in the classroom, or with
smaller reading groups. The guide includes a variety of questions.Some involve comprehension of each story, and others promptreaders to draw conclusions, speculate, make connections, anddig deeper” into the story. The questions could be adapted aswriting prompts. The guide also includes creative projects andwriting activities for each book.
, Homer’s epic poem
is retold from the point of n
roye Iia
view of two Trojan sisters who live at the palace of King Priam.Marpessa serves as handmaiden to Helen. Xanthe nurseswounded soldiers in the Blood Room, an infirmary. The city of Troy has been under siege by Greek armies for ten years and thewar is nearing conclusion. Inside the walled city, food is scarce— ut death is abundant. From the heights of Mount Olympus, theGods watch the carnage and devastation. Aphrodite, Goddess of Love, is bored with the endless, dreary war. With the aid of Eros’s arrow, Aphrodite causes Xanthe to fall in love with thewounded warrior Alastor. She then brings Alastor and Marpessatogether despite Marpessa’s objections and drives a wedgeetween the sisters.
is an intricate and compelling dramalled with passion, romance, and tragedy. The book is a vividinterpretation of the classic story.In
, ten years have passed since the end of the Trojan
War, and Penelope is still waiting for her husband, Odysseus, toreturn home. The city of Ithaka is overrun with unsavorycharacters from nearby islands who are vying to win Penelope’sand in marriage, thereby gaining control of the land. Inspiredy Homer’s
, the story is told through the eyes of fourteen-
year-old Klymene, who desires more than friendship with theyoung prince Telemachus. Like
is a lively, provocative
introduction to a classic Greek myth.
• Readers will benefit from familiarity with Greek mythologyto fully appreciate
. Have the students research the
backgrounds of the Greek gods who are depicted or mentionedin the stories—Aphrodite, Ares, Artemis, Eros, Hades,Hephaestus, Hera, Hermes, Poseidon, Pallas Athene, PhoebusApollo, and Zeus. Have the students research other commonreferences in Greek mythology, such as the Amazons, ElysianFields, the Fates, Hydra, Mount Olympus, and the River Styx.Encourage them to use books, magazines, and the Internet fortheir research.• Although the Trojan War is a myth, there is evidence that anancient city of Troy did exist. Have the students research whatarchaeological and historical facts have been established aboutthe city, such as its present-day geographical location and theperiod of its existence.• If students have not read
and , provide a
he Iliad 
d The Odyssey
synopsis of both so they will have context for understanding theinspiration for each story.
Please note: Page numbers are listed for both the hardcover and paperbackeditions of the book; page numbers for the paperback appear in italics. If onlyone page number is noted, the page number is the same for both the hardcover and the paperback.
What is the cause of the war?What does Alastor realize about the war when he is standingon the Plain? (p. 7)What words would you use to describe Boros?Why does Alastor’s mother not want Xanthe to treat her son?pp. 17–18)Xanthe believes it is “better to be an ox” than a poor girl.What does this belief reveal about the status of women inTrojan society? (p. 17)How does Alastor feel about his mother? (p. 19)What does Xanthe tell Alastor about her parents? (p. 19)Xanthe describes her sister Marpessa as “strange.” What doesshe mean? (p. 19)What is the significance of the tapestries Marpessa weaves? (p. 23)What is the role of the Gossips in the story? Use the discussionas an opportunity to introduce the concept of the chorus inclassical Greek literature.
What is Polyxena’s misfortune? (p. 31)Why does Iason prefer the company of horses to people?pp. 33–34)What does Xanthe say happened to her in the Blood Room?hat is Marpessa’s response? (p. 40)Why does Marpessa worry about Xanthe? (p. 41)Why does Boros go to see Andromache? What is her reaction?pp. 42–43)What are Andromache’s fears? (pp. 44–45)What are Polyxena’s views of love? (p. 48)Why are the Trojans so terrified of the Greek warrior Achilles?p. 50)What does Hecuba reveal about Paris to Marpessa?pp. 87–88;
)Who does Halie meet at the fish market? What does he revealto her? (pp. 92–93;
)What does Aphrodite reveal to Marpessa in the Blood Room?p. 103;
)What does Iason find Hephaestus making for Achilles?pp. 106–107;
 What does Achilles do with Hector’s body? Why does he doit? (pp. 112–14;
)What impact does Hector’s death have on the people of Troy?What does Iason want to reveal to Xanthe in the stables?pp. 172–73;
)What does Iason ask of Polyxena? (pp. 174–75;
)How is Paris killed? (p. 216;
)Why does Marpessa end her relationship with Alastor?pp. 240–41;
)What does the Black Warrior reveal to Alastor in a dream?pp. 253–55;
)Why does Marpessa go to Mother Poison? (p. 256;
)What do the Trojans believe when they see the great horse?p. 265;
)What is Xanthe’s response to Iason’s marriage proposal?p. 268;
)What does Poseidon reveal to Marpessa? (pp. 273–74;
 How does Xanthe respond to Marpessa’s confession about herelationship with Alastor? (pp. 280–83;
)Why do the Greeks kill Astyanax? (p. 310;
)What do you think the future holds for Marpessa, Xanthe,and Alastor?, gods and goddesses meddle in the affairs of mortals.In
ould you characterize the meddling as benevolent,ischievous, or malevolent? Cite specific examples from thetory to support your characterization(s).
• Marpessa tells stories through the tapestries she weaves.Making tapestries is one way humans have used art to tell storiesand detail events. What other ways have humans used art to tellstories and their own histories? For a creative project, have eachstudent re-create a favorite scene from
using whatever mediahe or she chooses.• The Singer recounts events through song. Ask each studentto write a song or poem that relates to a scene from the story. Or,to inspire a more personal connection between art and one’s life,ave each student write a song or poem that relates to a year inis or her life.• During wars throughout history, women have tended thewounded, sick, and dying. Xanthe is a fictional character, but herrole as a woman during wartime is historically accurate. Today,many women are soldiers. How would the story of the TrojanWar be different if women had been soldiers in Homer’s time?Have each student write a fictional account of the Trojan War inwhich the gender of key characters has been changed.• As with Adèle Geras’s
, there are many films and playsbased on Homer’s . They include the play
Iliadhe Trojan Women
y Euripides, and the films
(Warner Bros., 2004) and
nan War 
Discovery Channel, 2004), among others.Read
earch of the Troj 
, or excerpts from it, and then read Geras’s
he Iliad 
corresponding interpretation in
. Follow up by viewing filmversions of the story or by reading Euripides’ play. How are thevarious interpretations similar in their depiction of the TrojanWar, as well as of the gods and mortals? How are they different?
What are Penelopes reasons for not wanting Odysseus to fightthe war in Troy? (pp. 3–4)How does Klymene feel about Telemachus? Why will she notadmit her feelings to her brother? (pp. 11–12)What became of Ikarios and Klymene’s parents? (pp. 13–14)

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