Comparison and Contrast: Penelope vs. Penny
Though Penny Wharvey McGill is portrayed as a “Southern 1930’s” version of Penelope, this heroine has many contrasting characteristics compared to the wife of Odysseus from Ancient Greece.
In the Odyssey, Penelope stayed loyal to Odysseus while he was gone at sea for 20 years, and Penny couldn’t even stay faithful to Ulysses Everett McGill, who was only in jail for 2 years. Many pieces of evidence show the lack of allegiance Penny had to Everett. When Everett sees his daughters again for the first time since he’s escaped, they recognized him and their dad at first, but then remembered that their mom told them that he had been hit by a train and died. After hearing that, Everett goes to find
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Penelope sees the suitors as nothing more than a bunch of greedy pigs and wants them out. These ladies know what they want and will do strive to accomplish it. They’re both fit for their husbands in their own ways. Odysseus and Penelope are both cunning, clever, and always thinking of a plan. Everett and Penny, though not sharing the same characteristics as Odysseus and Penelope, are quick-tongued, know-it-alls, and think in a selfish manner. The story of the loom symbolizes the queen’s, Penelope’s, clever and cunning tactics. The contest of the bow and axes is another example of her craftiness. In O Brother, Where Art Thou, Penny is known for saying: “I've spoken my piece and counted to three.” every time something doesn't go her way, and if it doesn't get fixed, she walks away; an example of her "know-it-all" attitude. Everett is always telling Delmar and Pete things like, “You two are just dumber than a bag of hammers!” They, Everett and Penny, are both always looking out for themselves. Everett tricked the boys into breaking out of jail, which lengthened their sentences, just because he heard that Penny was getting remarried. Penny found herself a new man, “a suitor” who met her standards and could help support her family.