My son loves to write stories, books and songs. He spends the majority of his free time writing. In fact, we (me and my group of dedicated volunteers) have several books written by Jackson that we are working on publishing in 2017. One of these is a collection of poetry about sacred bodies of water. Jackson loves to read for pleasure and write creatively. And yet, he cannot pass the state’s reading and writing standardized tests. Here’s the definition of irony: An author who cannot pass a test on writing.
So, instead of trying to convince you anymore that these tests don’t measure things correctly, let Jackson’s own words in an essay he’s writing in English convince you. Despite his autism, and the years and years of speech therapy, where he worked on inference and conceptual thinking, it’s hard for a brain on autism to shift from the literal to the metaphorical. But, here goes. Read on for his essay comparing the Odyssey to the George Clooney movie, “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” Jackson in his own words.
“The film ‘O Brother Where Art Thou’ is inspired by ‘The Odyssey,’ which features various mysterious journeys that [you] take whenever you’re trying to come home to a loved one. Even though they won’t recognize you in the start, it’s still an epic story. On this essay, I’ll be comparing ‘The Odyssey’ and ‘O Brother, Where Art Thou?’ The theme for both of these stories are [is] filled with both action and adventure.
In the film, ‘O Brother Where Art Thou,” the protagonist is named Ulysses Everett Walker, whom is named after the Roman name for Odysseus. You see, the Romans believed in the Greek religion, but they changed the Greek deities names. For instance, Athena, guardian of Greece was named Minerva during Greek times. Even Greek people were under Roman rule were teachers.
Also in ‘OBWAT’, the protagonist shows hubris with his hair, while the protagonist in the Odyssey shows hubris by himself (in himself). They both had a bundle of pride.
Penny, whom is named after Odysseus’ wife, is Everett’s wife. Both of them, like I mentioned, both don’t trust on their husbands.
There was also a strange race of absurd walking-into-nowhere people. In ‘The Odyssey’ this race was known as The Lotus Eaters while in ‘OBWAT’, they’re referred to as a congregation.
There were also sirens in both stories. In ‘The Odyssey’, they were winged woman figurines. And in ‘OBWAT’, the sirens were temptress women who took Everett into jail again.
And he concludes with…
After you’ve read my essay, you’ve finally discovered all the similarities and differences between ‘The Odyssey’ and ‘OBWAT’. The eras were different. But, overall, the plots were the same. Sometime in the future, I could illustrate the Sirens, as floating feminine humans just like in ‘Kubo and the Two Strings.’ But, before I shall end, I’m here to tell you I’m trying to compare as much as I can by using memory.”
Jackson is my hero, and our journey has taken us both to many unexpected places. One of those places that I’ll be visiting will be the State Capitol in 2017 where I’ll be advocating to end these standardized tests, particularly for people with learning differences like autism. These tests are not doing a good job of measuring the most important human attributes–intelligence, grit, and creativity–all skills that a true hero needs to make it home.