Percy Jackson

Brief literary analysis of Percy Jackson & the Olympians, first book series in the Camp Half-Blood Chronicles. The series of five fantasy novels written by American author Rick Riordan. In this article we are going to analyze the first book of the series called The Lightning Thief.

Genre: Middle Grade, Mythology

Tropes: Found family, Chosen One

Main Character: Twelve-year-old Percy Jackson is on the most dangerous quest of his life.

The Lightning Thief
Point of View

First Person: The Lightning Thief begins with the narration of the protagonist, Percy Jackson. Percy is unsure of his identity and insecure about his life. This resonates as a common rite of passage for a twelve-year-old. But is complicated by the sudden appearances of monsters and other figures from Greek mythology. Percy values family, exemplified most notably in the love he has for his mother and his belief that she is the best person he knows. Because he values family so highly, he longs to know more about his father. He finally learns that he is the son of Poseidon, the god of the sea. However, simply knowing who his father is after all this time does not suddenly make Percy feel more secure in his identity, nor does it fulfill his desire to know and be known by his father. 

Percy Jackson is a good kid, but he can’t seem to focus on his schoolwork or control his temper. And lately, being away at boarding school is only getting worse – Percy could have sworn his pre-algebra teacher turned into a monster and tried to kill him.

When Percy’s mom finds out, she knows it’s time that he knew the truth about where he came from, and that he go to the one place he’ll be safe. She sends Percy to Camp Half Blood, a summer camp for demigods (on Long Island), where he learns that the father he never knew is Poseidon, God of the Sea. Soon a mystery unfolds and together with his friends—one a satyr and the other the demigod daughter of Athena – Percy sets out on a quest across the United States to reach the gates of the Underworld (located in a recording studio in Hollywood) and prevent a catastrophic war between the gods.

Literary Devices

Common technique in the fantasy, the prophecy that Percy receives foreshadows the rising action and climax of the book. After he is claimed as Poseidon’s son, he is accused of stealing Zeus’s master bolt and he must return the bolt to Zeus to prevent a catastrophic war.

What is the main themes of The Lightning Thief?

Identity. A common theme throughout The Lightning Thief is identity, and it is often framed as a struggle for the characters embarking on quests. Due to his learning disabilities, Percy has been labeled a troublemaker who lacks potential. Percy has dyslexia and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), at least that’s what the humans told him.

About the Author of Percy Jackson

Publishers Weekly dubbed Rick Riordan, “storyteller of the gods”. Riordan penned five #1 New York Times best-selling middle grade series with millions of copies sold throughout the world. Percy Jackson and the Olympians, The Heroes of Olympus, and the Trials of Apollo, based on Greek and Roman mythology. The Kane Chronicles, based on Ancient Egyptian mythology; and Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard, based on Norse mythology.

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