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Before you consider the theme, try to connect your life to that of the major conflicts...
First, do you come from a single parent home?
The Trojan War was longer and more dynamic than the Iraqi conflicts. Consider that Odysseus, the protagonist, is a great military leader like General Petreas in the recent Iraqi conflict. Consider that many of the warriors are forced into a military conflict in which each does not directly want to get involved.
If you cannot find any modern influences, watch the Simpson's episode "Tales from the Public Domain." This parodies the Odyssey as well as two other classic stories.
The Odyssey is a story about a journey home. Many of the movies and novels we read today also have this same theme. Think about The Hunger Games. Katniss is the heroine who goes through the games to survive and make her way home back to her family. Another example is Shrek. The ogre is eager to make his way home to the swamp. In order to do that, he faces many trials. I like to consider the Fast and Furious series of movies as epics following this same theme. Brian and Dom both go through many trials and tribulations to get home to their families and to protect theme. If you really think about it, a vast majority of today's movies and TV shows can be traced back to this theme.
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