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Themes

"The Lotus-Eaters" takes place in a strange and exotic spot, but there's also a lot of talk about home. The big problem in this poem is that the sailors don't want to sail anymore, and they would have to sail (or maybe just row) in order to get back to their wives and kids. So they make up excuses and tell themselves it isn't really worth going home after all. (Fathers of the year, they ain't.) In that way, this poem kind of flips the standard idea of homesick travelers on its head. These are travelers who don't want to go home. Still, given how much they talk about it, you can still tell that the idea of home has a pretty strong influence on their thinking (even if they're thinking under the influence of the Lotos).

Questions About The Home

  1. Does the idea of home seem like a positive thing in this poem, or does it seem sort of faraway and sad? How can you tell?
  2. Are any of the sailors' excuses for not going home convincing to you? If so, which?
  3. How do memory and home relate to each other in this poem?
  4. If the soldiers are so into Lotus land, why do they even bring up the idea of home at all?

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

The vision of home in "The Lotos-Eaters" is both sweet and terrifying, heartwarming and haunting (like a three-year-old dressed as Freddy Kruger). This combination of feelings reflects the contradictory emotions of the sailors, who seem to be both relaxed and scared.

The sailors twist their vision of home and turn it into an imaginary, lost place in order to give themselves an excuse to not to lift a pinky finger to go back.

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