How does reading the Odyssey give us cultural literacy?
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The Western literature (that of Europe and the United States) is undergirded by many of the stories that are told in Greek mythology. To understand many of the references in the literature of England and later of America, one must know what happened to Odysseus as he returned from the Trojan War. Even our word Odyssey is noted as a "long journey" under which many adventures and obstacles are encountered. To know what the "Siren song" is can help us understand such things as the allure of a beautiful woman or the enthralling nature of something bad for someone such as some addiction.