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Posted on May 2nd, 2014, by

Compare and contrast

To begin with, it should be reminded that according to general definition compare and contrast essay is a kind of writing that is meant to compare any two items and/or contrast them, i.e. analyze them critically finding and pointing out dissimilarities. In this paper, there is a try to cope with appropriate task dealing with Homer’s The Odyssey translated by Robert Fagles and “Sprited away” directed by Hayao Miyazaki. It is stated that looking pretty similar works are drastically different form each other, considering the main concepts, which are determined by differences in genre, characters, and style of narration. To get appropriate idea, all of mentioned distinguishing points, as well as similarities, will be analyzed.

Similarities. In fact, in this part we should address the plots of works under review. The Odyssey narrates about Ancient Greek hero Odyssey, who after Troy’s conquest takes the ten years lasting trip to his homeland and loving wife Penelope. Mostly, his adventures take place on fantastic lands and involve fictional characters. In this regard, we may remind imprisonment by beautiful nymph Calypso, trip to the Land of the Lotus Eaters, battle with Cyclops, Odyssey’s love affair with the witch-goddess Circe, his fight with the sea monster Scylla etc.. In addition, this Homer’s work involves the characters of major Gods from Ancient Greek mythology, such as Zeus or Athena. In its turn, “Sprited away” directed by Hayao Miyazaki present us a teenage, or even younger Japanese girl, who once without knowing it, entered really strange and mind shocking city of spirits and ghosts. In the course of the story, she meets multiple curios characters, and has to assimilate in hostile to her environment. Aiming to save her bewitched parents, and get out of this strange place, Hirito (San) takes a list of trials and adventures inextricably linked to fictional characters and circumstances that are even hard to be described in words.  So, at the first glance reader is able to deal with two works which are strongly endowed with the sense of fantastic and speculative fiction. Thus, the analogues are raised by themselves. However, some deeper view allows to object appropriate similarities, considering further arguments.

Mythology vs. Fantasy.   In this part, the attention to the most crucial point in the entire discussion will be paid. It looks absolutely obvious that both of analyzed fiction works were written with some special purpose, with special style and mood. Let’s try to examine appropriate issues. “Sprited away” directed by Hayao Miyazaki is extremely sentimental story, which is more like to be the fairy tale. In general, it indirectly addresses the issues of feelings and virtues, such as love, friendship, honesty, and decency. However, the main focus is made to the action’s environment. Frankly, this movie is worth to be called a bright representative of fantasy genre. According to the definition, fantasy is a kind of fiction that commonly uses magic and other supernatural phenomena as a primary element of plot, theme, or setting. The action in Spirited away, as well as in most of other works of appropriate genre, takes place in imaginary worlds where magic is common. Being the form of speculative fiction, it avoids horrifying and scientific words, and does not seek to be in some way close to reality. On the other hand, Homer’s Odyssey is contrary different. First of all, it is the epic work, which is centered around heroic main character, where the action takes place on a grand scale. In contrast to Sprited away, this work is focused on issues of courage, greatness, generosity, and inhuman power of certain character, and this focus is the core them of the entire work. In this regard, the fantastic part of a story is not the crucial point indeed. It is just used to strengthen epic nature of the story, and to make character’s achievements more incredible in readers minds. In difference to Sprited away, the Odessey tells its readers about mythological places and figures.  Let’s remind that myth is traditional, typically ancient story dealing with supernatural beings, ancestors, or heroes that serves as a fundamental type in the worldview of a people, as by explaining aspects of the natural world or delineating the psychology, customs, or ideals of society. Considering that mythology was inherent part of Ancient Greek culture, Homer’s Odyssey is even hard to be called the story of fantastic plot. Obviously, it remains the work of fiction genre, however, the myths can never be similar to fantasy according to differences of terminological definitions and meanings in general.

San & Odyssey.  Speaking frankly, contrasts found between two main characters are still referred to already discussed differences in genres.  On the one hand, we have tiny, scared, clumsy girl with a great heart, whose character harmonically added the atmosphere of secretive and mysterious world. In fact, her role is even not so important to the story, as the main accents are made to wonders of magic land and its residents. On the other hand, Homer’s The Odyssey introduces us powerful, strong, brave and courageous man, who was able to deal with greatest threats and dangers during his 10 years way home. In distinguish to movie, Homer’s Odyssey intended to bring the sense of character’s divine significance, even by making references to spiritual meaning of hero’s name: Just as I  have come from afar, creating pain for many    men and women across the good green earth  –  so let his name be Odysseus . . . the Son of Pain, a name he’ll earn in full(Feagles, p.23). In contrast to epic story, no one significant or interesting quote can be remind for Sprited away, and it doesn’t look surprising in fact, considering the genre of the movie. At last, differences between characters and general genres features’ determines distinguishes of story’s moods, which are varied from mystery to encouragement.

To sum up, it worth being recognized that Homer’s The Odyssey translated by Robert Fagles and “Sprited away” directed by Hayao Miyazaki have much more differences than similarities between each other. Actually, in some way this fact can be determined by the differences in times and cultures of creators that was not mentioned before. However, the main contrasts are still established through the genres of analyzed works. This assignment became helpful to learn that no artistic work should not examined only on the base of the most obvious facts, like the usage of fantastic figures and lands in both works. The valuable examination can be carried out only on the base of some deeper analysis and background that allows to see real creators’ purposes, and to estimate works’ successes better consequently.

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