Thesis Statement By studying how Zeitoun and Odysseus relate to their families1, 1. METHOD OF COMPARISON (i.e. specific topic you’ll be comparing—HOW you will prove your claim) one can see that Zeitoun does not really value his family while Odysseus honors all generations of his2, 2. COMPARE/CONTRAST CONCLUSION (i.e. what comparison immediately reveals—WHAT you will argue) suggesting that Odysseus better illustrates heroic selflessness3. 3. IMPLICATION OF COMPARE/CONTRAST (i.e. what deeper significance your compare/contrast observation suggests—WHY this observation is important)
Does the evidence add up? • Zeitoun refuses to listen to his wife’s pleas to leave New Orleans. • He wants his family to be safe. • He wants to protect their property. • He does not think the storm will be that bad based on prior experience. • Zeitoun enjoys himself in Katrina’s aftermath. • He thinks he is like his heroic brother. • He likes helping people. • He believes he was destined to stay behind.
Does the evidence add up? • Odysseus desperately wants to go home. • He weeps all day on Circe’s island • He begs Aeolus, Circe, and Calypso to help him get home • Odysseus enjoys his adventures • He does not spend his nights weeping on Circe’s Island • He enjoys the honor and adulation he gets when he reveals his name • He enjoys taunting the Cyclops • He enjoys besting the men in Nausicaa's palace
Thesis Statement By studying how Zeitoun and Odysseus relate to their families, one can see that neither Zeitoun nor Odysseus values family more than self, which is surprising because it suggests heroism has never been diminished by selfishness. Hoo, boy—that’s a clunker. 36 words.
Revision By studying Zeitoun and Odysseus, one can see that both men are as selfish as they are heroic, which is a surprising discovery about the unchanging standards of heroism. (29) Zeitoun and Odysseus are as selfish as they are heroic, illustrating a surprisingly consistent standard of heroism in the western world. (21)
Introduction Two heroes, one a real modern man , the other a mythic warrior of the ancient world, share an abiding love of family as well as a remarkable determination to achieve greatness. In Zeitoun, by Dave Eggers, the title character tries to live up to a legendary brother. In Homer’s The Odyssey, Odysseus returns home after twenty years of war and adventure. Both Zeitoun and Odysseus are as selfish as they are heroic, illustrating a surprisingly consistent standard of heroism in the western world.