Everyone needs a hero to look up to. People idolize heroes simply because of their admirable character traits. Examples of heroic characters would be Odysseus from Homer’s epic poem The Odyssey and Spaz from The Last Book in the Universe by Rodman Philbrick. The Odyssey is about the arduous Journey home of Odysseus after the Trojan War. The Last Book in the Universe is about Spaz’s strenuous Journey to see his sister, Bean, who has terminal cancer. Though both of these fgures are honorable, Odysseus is the better epic hero than Spaz because he ossesses more traits of an epic hero.
The first example of why Odysseus is the better hero is because he gets help from gods and goddesses, which is a traditional characteristic of an epic hero. Spaz does not get actual help. One of the times Athena helped Odysseus was when he was stuck on Calypsos island. She urges her father, Zeus, to help him get free. Zeus sends Hermes to Calypso on his behalf telling Calypso to release him. Also, Aeolus, the god of wind, helped them get home by using the power of winds. I think that in The Last Book in the Universe, Philbrick portrays Lanaya as a symbol of a goddess.
She is a genetically improved person, or proov, that helps out Spaz to save Bean. The way that Philbrick described Lanaya having “beautiful gray sky-colored eyes, and perfect skin, and short hair that sort of glows, like the sun is always shining on her,” makes her sound almost goddess-like (22. ). Although she is not an actual goddess, Odysseus definitely better possesses this trait of an epic hero. The next example supporting the thesis of Odysseus eing the better hero would be the fact that, unlike Spaz, Odysseus completes a final task alone at the end of his Journey.
An epic hero can have help from others in the rising tasks, but they must always accomplish the last task on their own. Odysseus exhibits bravery in his Journey alone throughout the book. He takes control of the situations and faces conflict alone. On the other hand, Spaz is accompanied by Ryter and Lanaya who advise and assist him the entire time. Spaz was incapable of grasping the conditions he was faced with, whereas Odysseus received help hroughout the story but alone completed the final task; a trait of an epic hero.
Epic heroes face many obstacles in their path to completing the Journey at hand. In The Odyssey, the main character was faced with new difficulties throughout each new location traveled. Along the way, many battles were fought, blood was shed, and enemies were made in the process. For example, Odysseus enraged several of the gods; most of whom was aggravated was Poseidon, god of the waters. This anger was shown when the writer explains that, “all the gods had pitied Lord Odysseus, all ut Poseidon, raging cold on through against the brave king till he comes ashore at last his own land… (1. 29-32). In The Last Book In The Universe, Spaz, too, encountered a handful of issues and obstacles. He is forbidden to leave the latch to see his sister, Bean, by Billy Bizmo. Spaz goes anyways, and when in the pipe, gets captured by the monkey boys. The last fortunate event that the main character faces unfortunate event is when Spaz and his crew are found by Lottie, and told that they will be able to see Bean: f they find the probe runner.
In order to be considered an epic hero, many traits must be exhibited such as: tacing enemies, having their journey threatened by those enemies, getting help from others who are usually gods or goddesses, and completing a final task alone at the end of their travels. Odysseus strongly portrays all of these traits more than Spaz does. The main character, Odysseus, from Homer’s The Odyssey, is the greater epic hero as opposed to Spaz from The Last Book in the Universe by Rodman Philbrick.