The Odyssey

Culture Clash

Generalizations and associations seem to permeate the culture of every human society. If this were not the case, there would be no need for the sociological study of ethnocentricity. The Odyssey of Homer strongly exhibits this quality of judging cultures and other peoples based on criteria defined by its own ancient Greek civilization. In this way, one can draw a parallel between Ancient China and Ancient Greece. The Chinese once viewed their country as the center of the universe; their values, beliefs, and customs were the standards against which they measured everything and everyone else. From The Odyssey, one can detect a similar methodology in the way in which the Greeks assessed the level of sophistication of other cultures by using their own familiar conventions as universal standards for defining humanity. Through The Odyssey, one can isolate three main methods the Greeks used in their cultural classifications: hospitality, story-telling, and diet. However, in order to appreciate fully the importance of such standards of comparison, one should examine the context in which each criterion was used. Since Homer does not directly list each criterion one by one, one might have to give a cursory examination of the attributes...

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