The Odd One Out

December 28, 2009
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Growing up in a house with four older sisters was definitely not the easiest thing ever. This was the scenario that my Aunt Elise went through as she was growing up, although she fondly thinks of it as being, “almost like having four additional mothers.” However, her sister’s also teased her incessantly. My mom recalls that she, “used to taunt Elise that she was adopted, and that Mom and Dad should have picked the cute little boy next to her. And they don’t love you as much because you’re not their real daughter!” My aunt readily believed this because, physically, she’s the odd one out among her family. Her sisters all closely resemble one another with their brown hair and brown/hazel eyes. Aunt Elise is the only family member who has blond hair and bright blue eyes. She is also the only one of her siblings who is under 5’5”. However, she dealt with the relentless teasing, and she actually feels that it made her a better person in the long run. As a child, she was also fearful of her father. “Don’t get me wrong, he never laid a hand on me, well, except to give me the occasional spanking, but then again, I was a really rotten kid sometimes” she jokingly says, “but Dad could be very bad tempered and intimidating.” Her dad was formidable at times; however, he loved all of his daughters and pushed them all to succeed in life and grow up to be very admirable women. My aunt’s family helped to instill the many redeeming character traits that she possesses today; her selflessness, patience, strong sense of family, determination, and her loyalty.
In The Odyssey, Odysseus constantly shows his noble and selfless side. For example, when his men are turned into swine by Circe, he is warned that he too will be transformed if he attempts to rescue them. Nevertheless, Odysseus risks his own safety and hurries to go rescue his men. My aunt is also exceedingly gracious and giving. Last January, my grandma was diagnosed with Stage III ovarian cancer. Since then, my aunt has acted as a caregiver for her mom. This full time job entails that she makes sure my grandma takes all of her medicine, gets enough rest, eats enough, and stays hydrated. She also has to rearrange her work schedule frequently so she can take her mother to her various doctor appointments. Having cancer puts my grandma in really bad mood sometimes, so Aunt Elise also deals with her mom’s moods without taking it out on her.
While journeying home, Odysseus waits for more than seven years to get away form Calypso. When he finally gets home, he’d like to just kill the suitors right away; however, he waits and formulates a detailed plan to ensure his success. Like him, my aunt is also exhibits a great amount of patience. She makes her living working for Lincare as a respiratory therapist and no matter how uncouth and rude her patients are, she gives them the help and assistance that they need. She assists many people who, for whatever reason, aren’t able to leave their houses. Her job is very emotionally draining and she often works over 60 hours a week. Although she provides homecare services that these people need to survive, some patients don’t even acknowledge what all she’s doing for them. “I’ll be trying to teach a whole family how to care for their family member so they’re comfortable and pain free. But sometimes they’re so nasty and rude that I don’t even want to help them and show them what to do,” she says bitterly. I know just how trying, frustrating, and unnerving her job is, yet she rarely complains about it and she almost always seems genuinely happy to be doing what she’s doing.
You can tell that Odysseus deeply cares about his family. For the entire time he is with Calypso, he weeps for his wife and son; therefore, you can gather just how much he misses them. My aunt is also very family-oriented. She offers to host every family gathering or holiday at her house. She provides food for over 20 people, has places for everyone to sleep, and doesn’t cringe when she thinks about all the water we use while taking showers. Aunt Elise doesn’t complain about the kids milling around or the huge messes. She actually enjoys having five of her relatives’ dogs running through her house.
Odysseus also shows his determination throughout the book. There are many obstacles that prevent him from getting home such as Calypso, Skylla, Kharybdis, Polyphemos, and Poseidon. But he shows his willpower and eventually returns home to his wife and son. My aunt is one of the most determined people I know. When she was ready to get her certification to become a respiratory therapist, her dad died expectedly while on vacation in Nova Scotia, Canada. Needless to say, she was devastated; nevertheless, she took her licensing test two days after the funeral and became certified.
Loyalty is very important to Odysseus. He is very loyal to his men and expects them to be loyal to him. When he returned home, he observed and figured out which servants remained loyal to him. He had the maids that slept with the suitors killed because he believed that they made a mockery of his wife Penelope. My aunt displays loyalty towards her place of employment. My aunt has worked at Lincare since December of 1994. She has received numerous job offers from other companies where she could have gotten better hours, a higher salary, or better benefits. She refused these because she knew how desperately Lincare needs respiratory therapists. If she quit, the other therapists wouldn’t be able to keep up with all of the demands of the company; therefore, they would have to drop clients, which would be bad for their reputation.
Aunt Elise resembles Odysseus in many ways. They are both extremely generous, patient, resolute, loyal, and care deeply about their families. These are just a few of the characteristics that make them heroes. My aunt is a very inspiring and commendable individual.

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