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ISSUE 118 VOL 11 PUBLISHED 2/25/2005

Men consider classics

By Jean Mullins
News Editor

Friday, February 25, 2005

Fathers and sons gathered in the Black and Gold Ballroom in Buntrock Commons on Sunday Feb. 20 to celebrate their relationships.

The festivities began with a prayer by Brett Therrien ’08. Therrien wished the fathers a safe journey home after the brunch.

After brunch, the audience listened to a speech by Christopher Brunelle, assistant professor of classics and father of 19 month–old Julian.

After being introduced by Claire MacDonald '05, Brunelle ascended the podium.

He began by saying he was unsure that he was the right person to be giving a speech on fathers and sons, as he has only been a father for less than two years.

He told the audience that 18 years ago he was a sophomore at Carleton and 18 years from now his own son will probably be a college sophomore.

Brunelle then turned his attention to his primary field of study – the classics.

"It gives me great comfort to see the human elements repeated over and over in ancient literature," Brunelle said, referring to Homer's epic, “The Odyssey.”

He said that Odysseus and his son Telemachus have a special father-son relationship, commenting on Telemachus' life-long anticipation of his father’s return.

“I think about the ways that Odysseus is not just a husband, not just a hero, but a father.”

Odysseus, he told the audience, gave up life on an island with a goddess to return home to his son.

Brunelle then told of Roman comedies, "stereotypical" stories of old "crotchety" fathers and young sons in love with the wrong girls.

He pointed out how the stories’ endings are "ludicrous.”

Brunelle left the fathers and the sons with two pieces of parting advice: to read the Odyssey and to examine closely the relationship between Telemachus and his father, Odysseus.

Brunelle also said to read Roman comedies to get happy endings with family harmony – something "We all want," he said.

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