This paper presents a detailed and concise comparison of two characters-Odysseus and Chihiro. The papers therefore analyses the common believed on the ability and power of the super-natural powers of the spirits, monsters and gods to rescue their faithful servants from slavery and sufferings. It goes deep to draw a contrast that exists between Chihiro and Odysseus in Spirit Away and The Odyssey respectively, in terms of their femininity and masculinity. This paper therefore delves most objectively into similarities and difference that exist between the two characters with regard to their femininity and masculinity.

Introduction

The Odyssey presents a hero called Odysseus, who for ten years had been imprisoned by a beautiful nymph Calypso who had love for him. Back in Ithaca, Odysseus kingdom, many rowdy suitors struggle to court her wife not knowing he is alive. Penelope, Odysseus‘s wife, remains faithful to him as Telemachus, his son, thinks of a way to drive all the rowdy suitors away. This goes to a point where, Antinous, one of the suitors, plans to take the life of Telemachus. A plan he secretly choreographs to execute with extreme prejudice. Athena, one of the gods and Odysseus’s supporter endures to assist Telemachus as the god debate on the future of Odysseus. Telemachus visits kings Menelaus and Nestor who tells him that his father is still alive. Calypso is persuaded and allows Odysseus to build a ship. On his way back, Poseidon discovers this but Athena intervenes saving Odysseus from the wrath of the storm sent by Poseidon, the sea god. He arrives home like a beggar, the suitors still unaware. His wife organizes a contest where all the suitors fail and Odysseus wins. He then reunites with his family after revealing himself.

The Book Spirited Away presents a ten year-old girl, Chihiro Ogino and her parents in a new town. they continue to explore this new environment, following her father’s quest,  though Chihino and her mother are against this idea of sampling foods from unattended business stalls. She then leaves her parents before the nightfall in the company of Haku.  On coming back, Chihino realises that her parents are no more human being but pigs. Besides, the park where she had left her parents is swarm with monsters. Eventually, through the boy she had meet earlier, Haku, she learns that her parents have been transformed into spirit world.  In her bid to salvage her parents, Chihino is directed to Kamaji by Haku to seek employment. The six-armed boiler room attendant turns down her request and instead entrust her to a bathhouse worker, Lin, who further refer her boss, Yababa, the witch.  Yababa finally accepts Chihino’s request but on the condition that she admit her to be changed to Sen. Haku goes a head to warn Chihino that to avoid being trapped into the world as her parents, she has to master her new name, because it is these names that Yababa uses to control her servants.  Sen eventually rescues Haku, the dragon from the angry mouths of the Yababa servants acting under instruction from their master, because it sis believed that Haku must have stolen the gold seal from Zeniba, the twin sister to Yababa.  Sen and Haku manage to flee off the dangerous zone and fall back into the hands of Kamaji, the boiler man and the dragon coughs up the stolen silverwares for Sen to crush her foot with. Kamaji aids in by sending train tickets to Sen and Boh to visit Zeniba, to plead with her to assist in lifting the curse on golden seals.

In the meantime, the masked monster/spirit that Sen had allowed in reveals his identity as  “No Face.” In order to speak, the monster swallows the servants and grows giant having exchanged the golden seal for dumpling foods. Sen keeps on feeding the ‘No Face’ after having swallowed several employees of the boiler room. Having developed a close tie between him and Sen, ‘No Face’ too accompanies Sen to Yababa’s twin sister’s house.  Yababa is angered with the Sen’s dissertation and insult she has suffered in the hands of the monster, No Face, and orders for the killing of Sen’s parents.  Haku once again comes to the rescue of Sen and her parents. Haku, the dragon, face-off Yababa and warns her of the disappearance of Boh. He promises to return Boh on the condition that Yababa is will to discharge Sen and her family to transform to human world once more. On their arrival at Zeniba’s places, they receive warm welcome, and Zeniba finally reveals that it is the love demonstrated by Sen that leads to the breaking of the seal’s spell and that the slug that Sen had slaughter happened to be the cursed that had been used by Yababa to enslave Haku.  On flashing backing that she had at one time been drawn by R.Kohaku, Sen guesses that the spirit of the river that who had saved her might be Haku, the dragon.  Finally, Haku keeps his promise to Yababa and takes back Boh, Sen (now called Chihino), is subjected to the final test of identifying her parents from a large number of identical pigs, which she passes with ease by noting that her parents are not amongst them. She is lead by Haku to the park where she finally re-unites with her loved parents, who have no idea of the experience they have been through. Sen and her parents finally have a chance to depart of the park to their home.  Such was the experience of Sen.

 

 

 

Major theme from the Spirited Away

The major theme in this film is about the protagonist nature of the 10 year-old girl Chihino. The story presents the life changes encountered by Chihino in her struggles from childhood to adulthood. She endures a lot of suffering and frustrations in the spirited world. The darker side of the world present itself before her to meet the realities. The brevity and endurance demonstrated by her is a sign that femininity is not a weakness but a strength to move forward. Her effort to salvage her spirited parents finally yield fruits as she succeeds to re-unite with them once more with the assistance of Haku, the dragon. She even goes the extremes such as acquiring a new identity, Sen, as her big challenge rites-of-passage. The losing of the real name, Chihino for Sen for servant hood purposes, symbolically represents the killing of the innocent child. These are the realities that dawns with transition from childhood to adulthood, a world full of monsters, spirits and mirrored by unbelievable supernatural settings in the society.

On the other hand, it the book Odyssey, a young character, Odysseus is pictured. On her journey home, he made stop over’s and urged every citizen sited by the road side to:

“Come this way, you lords and captains of Phaeacia, come to the meeting grounds and learn about the stranger! A new arrival! Here at our wise king’s palace now, he’s here from roving the ocean, driven far off course– he looks like a deathless god!”

He describe the torture that he endured in hands of the king and his people. The life was full of assaults, mockery and fustigations for him. He goes further to curse his parent for giving birth to him. His life has very little to embrace as he is made to undergo pain, despair and embarrassment, that he is even crippled in the process of offering resistance to such oppression.  However, unlike Chihino,  Odysseus is a little bit pessimistic and leave nature to take it course. He feels mistreated and undervalued with his masters even in the eyes of his own people. He therefore express his bitterness through a song and a dance. Except a few almost every one to him is  poor inhuman with no value for life principles.

 

 

Comparison between masculinity and feminism between Odysseus and Chihiro

Odysseus in most cases demonstrates feminine traits when he avoids going physical in difficult situations. He addresses most of the problems verbally for example when he tells Cyclopes that he is called “nobody.”  (Homer 2009). Also this is seen when he together approach the woman who had turned his men into pigs using a portion (Homer 2009). This seemingly goes against the adage that men are defined by their level of muscle and not intellect. This is a trait mostly seen in the females. His avoidance to employ physical dominance to sort out his problems more or less paints him in a more feminine picture.

On the contrary, Chihiro is presented as a strong and independent character who insists on what she thinks is right. She believes in her capability to cut for herself a niche in the society. This is evident when her parents come with the idea of moving to a new town. This thought does not auger well with her prompting her voicing her distaste at moving. She insists on remaining behind. She is openly stubborn and refuses to accept moving to a new town as proposed by her parents. This trait is more associated with males. This behavior is in sharp contrast with what odyssey exhibits. Chihiro who is a woman exhibits a more masculine behavior while Odysseus, a man, adopts a more feminine approach in handling his differences. Rather than voice his displeasure and disapproval loudly, he chooses a more diplomatic method.

Odysseus is painted as being proud and arrogant. This is a trait seen in most males. While on the ship, he lets his authority be known he says they will not move until they are sure there is no danger from the land (Homer 2009, p 6). This can be seen when he leaves Cyclops’s island sailing back home. Odysseus shouts his name loudly saying that there is nobody who can defeat “Great Odysseus.” Whereas, Chihiro is portrayed as a wise, stubborn and mature person, even though being a young girl of ten. This is a major character in mature male person. When her father decides to go and explore the park, she reluctantly accepts to follow him. Her parents start picking and eating every food from the abandoned stall, her instinct tell her it’s bad and avoid her parents wandering around the park. She actually never allows bad situations spoil her trust as well as optimism.

Odyssey is portrayed as being overly dependent. He is taken captive for overly twenty years. His pretence as a beggar paints him as a character who does not take tissues head on. It portrays him as a man with little authority. This is in contrast with Chihiro who is only ten.  While she is just a child, she portrays a high level of maturity that is missing in Odysseus.  Her maturity is evidenced when she instinctively respects the rule of law and adheres to them knowing their importance even when pushed by authority figures to flout them.

For instance, when her father decides to explore the theme park that has been abandoned, Chihiro’s discretion advises her against the idea. While her parents gorge themselves on the food while in the park, she refrains from consuming anything. Her wise decision and respect for rules and regulations are to be instrumental in the world of the spirit.

 

 

 

Similarities

Both the two characters are intelligent, wise and cunning. This trait may be manifested by both the two sexes in the society but majorly mature male adults. Odysseus portrays this when he uses a deceptive as well as disguised. He alters his appearance when he arrives home. He escapes after binding Polyphemus only to boast and scream thereafter. Chihiro on the other hand resist on adopting her new identity that was vital for her survival in the spirit world.

Conclusion

The Odyssey, a Greek legend based on the travels of Odysseus, and Spirited Away depicting the story of Chihiro, who discovers she is trapped in a bathhouse for the spirit world. Although the two characters appear different at first, they in fact exhibit many similarities as well as contrasts in terms of their femininity and masculinity. This contrast and similarity weighed against each other helps to draw a picture how different individuals take charge of their lives. Chihiro for example doesn’t seem to understand the possible consequences of letting in potentially dangerous guests. Still in either circumstance they both manage to take charge and make heroes of themselves. This comparison appears ironic since it compares a child and an adult facing virtually similar challenges and how they get to handle these challenges. The main question remains whether a child can also make a decision and whether such decisions affect others. This is contrasted by Odyssey’s predicaments.

 

 

 

 

 

Work cited

Homer. Introduction to the Odyssey Penguin publishers. (2003)

John R. & David Whitt. Millennial mythmaking: essays on the power of science fiction and

fantasy. (2010)

Andrew Osmond spirited away. Asingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, (2008)