There is one universal truth around reading selections for an English class: No issue what publication you select, somebody will object. For this reason, it’s a great idea to have actually a rationale all set for any type of novel the might cause controversy. If you choose to use Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief, here is a rationale you space welcome come share through parents, principals, curriculum gurus, etc. Feel totally free to modify it to fit her needs.

You are watching: When does the lightning thief take place

A Rationale because that Rick Riordan’s The Lightning Thief

Grade Level and Audience

The Lightning Thief is a light-hearted fantasy around a modern-day 12-year-old boy who learns the his true father is Poseidon, the Greek god the the sea. Percy sets the end to become a hero by undertaking a quest throughout the United states to find the entrance to the Underworld and also stop a war in between the gods. The novel offers a high-interest, humorous advent to the Greek myths. It functions well if taught in conjunction v mythology, which is a core component of most English state curriculum frameworks. The novel can also be teach at any type of time after the advent of Greek mythology, to draw on students’ prior endure as per standard 3 of the standards for English Language arts of the national Council of teacher of English.

Rick Riordan, the author, has actually fifteen years suffer as an English/language arts teacher at the center school level. The designed The Lightning Thief to be suitable reading for eras nine with fourteen.

The novel offers wonderful chance for students to discover the classic heritage that Greece together it uses to modern-day civilization; to analysis the elements of the hero’s search rendered in a modern-day story through a first-person narrator to who students can quickly relate; and also to discuss such relevant problems as finding out disabilities, the nature that family, and also themes of loyalty, friendship and faith.

Plot Summary

Spoiler warning! perform not check out this if friend don’t want to recognize the finishing of the book!

Twelve-year-old Percy Jackson has actually been labeled a troubled youth. Diagnosed with ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder) and also dyslexia, Percy is attending Yancy Academy, a boarding institution for trouble teens in upstate brand-new York. This is Percy’s “sixth school in six years.” where he goes, he seems to acquire in trouble unintentionally. Strange, periodically dangerous things take place to him.

As the novel opens, Percy begins to doubt that his life is no what that seems. Throughout a field trip to the urban Museum of Art, his mathematics teacher transforms into a Fury and also attacks him. Percy’s Latin teacher involves the rescue, cram Percy a ballpoint pen i beg your pardon turns into a copper sword. Percy’s sword stroke causes the monster come disintegrate, but later on the event seems to have actually been a hallucination. Everyone, consisting of Percy’s Latin teacher, claims that the math teacher who attacked him never ever existed.

At the finish of the college year, Percy’s finest friend Grover insists on escorting that home, however Grover’s nervousness and cryptic comments around Percy being in danger make Percy uneasy, for this reason he slips away from Grover in ~ the first opportunity and also goes house by himself.

Percy’s home life is much from perfect. His mommy Sally Jackson is a sort woman, yet never had any kind of luck in life. She dreams of being a writer, however works in ~ a candy shop to make ends meet and is married come “Smelly” Gabe Ugliano, Percy’s abusive stepfather that expects Percy to carry out him with poker-playing money in exchange because that room and also board throughout the summer. Their tiny Upper east Side apartment is a cheerless place. Percy battles to understand why his mother, who obviously loves him, takes together pains come send that away every year to a different boarding school.

When Percy and also his mommy go because that a weekend retreat to the beach, their time together is interrupted by a storm and a horrible wailing in the center of the night, together if a monster is searching for them. Percy’s friend Grover appears at your door and reveals himself as a satyr. He has actually been maintaining an eye ~ above Percy till Percy is old enough to to visit Camp half Blood, a summer camp for training demigods. Grover speak Percy that monstrous forces are currently after him in earnest, and also they have no an option but come flee to Camp half Blood.

On the method to camp, lock are assaulted by the Minotaur. Percy manages to defeat the monster, yet only after that knocks out Grover and squeezes Percy’s mom until she disappears in a shower of gold. Heartbroken, suspect his mommy is dead, Percy traction Grover to safety and security over the property line of Camp fifty percent Blood.

Once in ~ camp, Percy is reunited with his Latin teacher, that in his true type is Chiron, the immortal centaur and trainer that heroes. Percy learns the the Greek gods space alive and well – one integral component of the collective consciousness dubbed Western Civilization. Olympus, the home of the gods, moves v the heart of the civilization, and also now hovers invisibly end the realm State Building, because America is right now the an excellent power that the West. Percy learns the the gods still have children with mortals, and that monsters naturally seek out these young demigods. Camp fifty percent Blood serves together a for sure haven whereby these powerful, endangered young heroes can train to safeguard themselves. For the previous sixty years, the “big three” (Zeus, Poseidon and Hades) have kept one oath not to have mortal children since their powerful nature have the right to cause good trouble in the world, however the other Olympians still have enough kids to to fill the camp. Percy meets Annabeth, a daughter the Athena, and Luke, a son of Hermes. He also makes a new enemy in Clarisse, a daughter that Ares. Percy’s very own parentage continues to be undetermined till a swirling trident appears over him during a Greek-battle-style video game of capture the flag. Come the astonishment the the various other campers, Percy is known as a boy of Poseidon – the first in three generations.

Soon ~ this revelation, Percy learns the there is problem in Olympus. Zeus’ understand bolt – the weapon ~ above which all other lightning bolts space modeled – has actually been stolen, and Zeus has accused Poseidon that instigating the theft. The mr of the skies believes that Poseidon supplied Percy, a human being hero, come steal the bolt in a plot to overthrow Zeus. Zeus has provided Poseidon till summer solstice – just ten job – to return the weapon. Poseidon is offended, however he additionally dreads the believed of war with Zeus. He needs Percy’s help to discover out what really occurred to the bolt. Chiron believes that Hades, lord of the Underworld, stole the bolt to set his two brothers at each other’s throats. Chiron speak Percy the he have to travel to the enntrance gate of the Underworld in Los Angeles (by land, due to the fact that Zeus would blast him out of the sky if he tried to fly), confront Hades, and also return the master bolt come Olympus prior to the solstice passes in bespeak to stop a war between the gods.

As is customary, Percy consults the Oracle prior to leaving. The is warned that he will fail to save what matters many in the end, and will it is in betrayed by a friend. Deeply troubled, but believing the the quest to the Underworld is the only way to watch his mommy again, Percy set out through two companions, Annabeth and Grover.

Along the way, the three friends find out to to trust one another. Annabeth, whose mom Athena is one old rival of Poseidon, need to overcome she doubts about Percy. Grover the satyr should overcome his fear of monsters and also underground places. Just by showing courage have the right to he to convince the council of Cloven Elders to give him his life-long score of a “searcher’s license,” offering him the ideal to quest for the missing god the the wilderness, Pan. Percy pertains to terms v his anger for his father, who has suddenly asserted himself ~ ignoring Percy for twelve years. In his travel west, Percy encounters Medusa, the Chimera, Procrustes the Stretcher, and the Lotus Hotel and also Casino (the land of the Lotus Eaters). He additionally meets the battle god Ares, who offers Percy a secret backpack in exchange because that doing the god a favor, and a Nereid, who offers Percy 3 magic pearls native Poseidon – each of which will certainly return one human to the sea from where they might be, even the land of the dead.

The friends ultimately arrive in the Underworld just to find that they have been tricked. The culprit is not Hades, yet the defeated titan Kronos, that is trapped in the depth of Tartarus but is tho able come manipulate the desires of gods and also men. Hoping to start a three-way war amongst his Olympian sons, Kronos brought about the grasp bolt and additionally Hades’ helm that darkness to be steal by a person hero whose identity Percy does not yet know. Kronos’ person thief to be unexpectedly recorded by Ares. The battle god intended to store the magic items for himself, but Kronos bend his will, and also caused the god to give the master bolt come Percy, concealed within the magic backpack, so that the young hero might carry it come the Underworld for Kronos.

Hades is sure Percy is the thief who stole the bolt and his helm. The god of the dead is stop Percy’s mother — that is only frozen in a shower of gold, no dead – and demands Percy offer up the magic helm before she is released. As armies of the dead surround him, Percy brings the end his magic pearls. With just three, the realizes he need to choose between the stays of his 2 friends and saving his mother. In the end, that can’t give up his friends. Promise his mother that he will return because that her, Percy and his friend escape to the surface, where Percy battles the god Ares for possession that the bolt and also the helm. Percy wins, offers the helm come the Furies to return to the Underworld, and also travels earlier to new York with the bolt over time to prevent a war.

At Olympus, Percy meets his father face to face. Poseidon appears distant and also sad, however says that is proud the his son. He claims he fear Percy has been born for a hero’s tragic fate. Poseidon tells Percy the his mom is ago – changed as a peace offering through Hades – and also that once Percy returns home, the will need to make critical choice. Percy rushes back to his family’s apartment, whereby he finds Medusa’s head waiting for him, a trophy he had forgotten mailing home previously in his quest. The realizes he has the opportunity to petrify his stepfather and also save his mommy from a miserable marriage. His mother implores him not to carry out it, however. She must break away from Gabe herself. Percy respects her wishes, and thus breaks the mold the what the disastrous hero can have done. The prophecy for this reason comes true in an unforeseen way: Percy stops working to conserve what matters many by permitting his mom to save herself.

Upon returning to Camp fifty percent Blood, Percy is betrayed through his friend Luke, child of Hermes, who turns out to it is in the human being hero who Kronos provided for the theft. Luke prisoner Percy, and tells him prior to leaving the Kronos will certainly rise and destroy the age of the gods. Western human being is unraveling.

Percy recovers indigenous the poison v Chiron’s help, and realizes his adventures room not however over. The is a hero now, and also must hit the rise of the titans.

The novel is ultimately around Percy coming of age, learning to trust his friends and also his very own abilities, agree his parents for that they are, and also choosing love and also loyalty over resentment and despair.

Theoretical Support and also Redeeming Values

While said in a humorous tone and cast as a fantasy adventure, The Lightning Thief explores serious concerns that are extremely relevant come the young reader. Percy is a young guy whose finding out disabilities and also family troubles have given him a an unfavorable self-image. That is self-conscious and needs acceptance. In ~ the exact same time, that is fiercely loyal to his friends and his mother, and has a strong sense the justice and also fair play. When he finds the end his father’s true identity, Percy should redefine that he is. He need to decide even if it is to take Luke’s path of bitterness and also disillusionment, or collection aside his resentment of his absent father Poseidon and shot to expropriate his heritage. In this struggle, his brand-new friend Annabeth acts together his foil. Rejected by her mortal father, who has actually married a “normal” wife and wants a normal life with their two new children, Annabeth has actually lived favor an orphan at Camp half Blood due to the fact that she was seven. Together Percy sees just how unhappy Annabeth is, that reevaluates his own anger toward Poseidon and also helps Annabeth discover ways come reconnect with her father.

Grover the satyr, who deserve to read emotions, acts together Percy’s conscience, placing words come the feelings the Percy, together an adolescent boy, has actually trouble expressing. Grover additionally serves together the moral center of the book. He speaks up against the imprisoned pets on the truck to ras Vegas. He is the an initial to market his life to aid rescue Percy’s mother. The rails versus mankind because that polluting the earth, but keeps one unshakeable optimism that the great God Pan can still be uncovered – a an allegory for restoring harmony between man and also the environment. Grover believes he will be the an initial satyr in two-thousand year to successfully discover the god.

Among the crucial questions posed by the novel:

What deserve to one individual perform to benefit whole civilization?What is “Western Civilization” and also have its main precepts changed since its origins in classical Greece?What is the nature the a family, and also what room the duties and responsibilities of a parent and also a child?What is the an interpretation of a hero?Is one’s destiny preordained, or have the right to one conquer environment and heritage?What features make a true friend?Does classic mythology still have actually a role to offer in contemporary society?

Havighurst’s Developmental tasks for Pre-Adolescence and also Adolescence delineate the following concerns which are paramount for ages 12-18:

Achieving new & more mature relations with age-mates of both sexesAccepting one’s physique and also using the body effectivelyAchieving emotional freedom of parents and other adultsSelecting and preparing because that an occupationDeveloping intellectual skills and ideas necessary for civic competenceDesiring & achieving socially responsible behaviorAcquiring a collection of values and also an moral system as a guide to behavior

Percy and also Annabeth plainly personify the struggle to attain these work in means young readers have the right to identify with. Percy and also Annabeth vacillate in between gender mistrust and mutual fascination so usual in boys and also girls in beforehand adolescence, at some point forging a an ext mature friendship based upon shared experience. Once Percy finds out his heritage, he have to struggle to grasp the physical an abilities needed to defend himself, but additionally must uncover what it way intellectually, morally, and ethically to be a hero. That evolves, over the food of the book, indigenous an unsure awkward boy who resents his own differences, to an assertive young guy who has started to think about the moral implications of his newfound powers and also understands the worth of relying top top others. The need for emotional freedom from parents, well balanced with the require to maintain an emotional connection, is central to Percy and Annabeth’s an ideas in pursuing their search to the Underworld.

Piaget (1962) theorizes that kids of Percy and also Annabeth’s period group build theories and make logical deductions around their consequences without any kind of previous straight experience v a provided subject. Castle can attend to abstractions and mentally check out similarities and differences, thinking their means through brand-new problems and also taking into account as numerous or as couple of qualities as seem appropriate from past experiences. Percy and Annabeth clearly embody this endure in The Lightning Thief, together they should compare their very own different and yet strikingly comparable backgrounds to know their duty in the Underworld quest, and more generally in the people of mortals. Lock must additionally constantly compare and also contrast the archetypes and story elements of Greek mythology to your own contemporary quest in order come understand how to get rid of the obstacles in their means – both the outside threat the monsters, and also the internal threats that selfishness, suspicion, fear and insecurity.

Percy and Annabeth additionally exemplify Erickson’s stages of psychosocial advancement (1968), making them mirrors for young readers to discover the issues and also concerns that are many relevant to them. At period twelve, kids are moving from sector vs. Inferiority to identity vs. Role confusion. They space solidifying the an abilities needed to attain a feeling of competency, particularly at school, in order to prevent a feeling of inadequacy. In ~ the same time, they are start to test limits and break ties the dependency, trying come clarify their very own identity and life goals. Percy, and also to a lesser level Annabeth, still battle to build a feeling of industry after gift stigmatized in a college environment because of their discovering disabilities. The revelation the Percy is a demigod bring him a whole new sense of competence and also industry, while at the same time opening a people of questions about who the is and what that will come to be as a hero. Gift forcibly gotten rid of from his mother, then rediscovering both her and also his father and the finish of a rite-of-passage quest, Percy personifies the testing and redefining of parent-child ties i beg your pardon all youngsters must experience.

Objectives, to teach Methods and Assignments

Suggested teaching Objectives:

To map the changes in Percy’s attitude toward his mother, father, and also stepfather.To study the advance of Percy and Annabeth’s friendship.To compare and also contrast the Greek myths with the method those myths space referenced, modernized, and also reinterpreted in the novel.To comparison Luke’s attitude toward his pursuit with Percy’s.To research Grover’s maturation through the course of the quest.To research both optimistic and an unfavorable elements the “Western Civilization” as depicted in the novel and also personified by the Greek gods.To compare Annabeth’s evolving perspective toward her household with Percy’s attitude.To analyze the aspects of the hero’s quest within the novel.

Suggested Student activities & Essay Questions:

The fastened teacher’s guide provides variety of feasible activities and also essay questions.

Possible Objections

Young adult novels did no exist before 1950. In recent years, they have been targeted typically by censors, either since these novels transaction honestly with realistic concerns facing teenagers, or since they resolve fantastical topics such as magic or mythology that some construe as being in ~ variance through strongly held religious beliefs. Some factors why a censor could object come The Lightning thef are:

Paganism/polytheismFantastical elements such as monsters and magicViolenceUnconventional families/unmarried parents

Why The Lightning Thief need to Not it is in Banned

The uncomfortable mix of classic Greek and also Roman heritage and Judeo-Christian worths is the oldest dispute in west Civilization. Knowledge both strands, which blended to type our modern-day culture, is critical to becoming an notified member of society. The Lightning Thief explores Greek mythology in a contemporary setting, yet it go so as a humorous work of fantasy, and also makes no attempt to subvert or contradict Judeo-Christian teachings. Early in the book, the character Chiron draws a clear difference between God, capital-G, the creator of the universe, and also the Greek god (lower-case g). Chiron says he does not wish to delve into the metaphysical issue of God, however he has no qualms around discussing the Olympians because they are a “much smaller sized matter.” The god of Olympus are depicted as an effective beings who communicate with their children and also demand respect. They space archetypal pressures deeply installed in and inseparable from west thought. Yet there is no tip within the book that pagan god prayer be revived, or the it replace modern religion. Rather, the entirety of Western society is viewed as a tribute come the enduring tradition of Olympus.

Similarly, the fantastical facets in the novel room drawn straight from Greek mythology, and also thus operate at a deeply symbolic level. As with all stories based on the hero’s quest, The Lightning Thiefpresents monsters as exterior manifestations of the internal disputes Percy must win to accomplish his resulting age. The fight through Medusa is symbolic that the tension between Percy and also Annabeth. The gorgon is the age-old grudge in between their parents which the two kids must put behind them. Dealing with the Chimera in the St. Luigi Arch is really about Percy facing his very own fears the inadequacy. The expedition to the Underworld is main to Percy’s transforming world view. As soon as he return to his family, he realizes the cannot merely petrify his step-father, as much as castle loathe every other, since Percy now understands something around mortality and also the duties that go v his power. The appreciates the after-effects of acquisition a life. In spite of the trappings of fantasy, Percy is no magician. He must rely on his sword skills, his strength, and also most of all his wits come think his method out that problems.

Violence in The Lightning Thief is neither graphic nor gratuitous. Percy disintegrates monsters v his sword, but even these are not important dead, follow to the fantastical rule that operate in the human being of the novel. Annabeth and Chiron say the monsters are forces that deserve to only be temporarily dispelled. No people die, other than for the include petrifaction that Gabe Ugliano which happens off-stage at the finish of the book. Percy is wounded number of times, but even this in no graphically described, nor room the scenes of fighting any much more intense than would be essential to produce a believable sense of hazard in any type of young adult adventure.

See more: How Many Gallons Of Gas Does A Semi Hold ? What Is The Capacity Of A Tanker Truck

As because that the issue of unwed parents, among the most relevant themes that The Lightning Thief is the method that the popular affairs in between Greek gods and also mortals becomes a gentle an allegory for how modern children attend to a damaged family. Both Percy and also Annabeth must pertained to terms v distant, seemingly unapproachable parents that they simultaneously resent and also admire. They must try to understand how their mothers and also fathers display their love, and also why their parents’ relationship were, in the end, irreconcilable. In doing so, Percy and Annabeth wear a battle that resonates through a vast variety of young readers, and encourages discussion about the nature of the family members by giving an unthreatening metaphor couched in fantasy.

Censoring any kind of book top top grounds such together those discussed over does a disservice come young readers that are finding out to become vital thinkers. As Henry Reichman says (Censorship and also Selection, 1988), “by suppressing materials containing ideas and themes through which they carry out not agree, censors produce a sterile conformity and also a lack of intellectual and also emotional expansion in students.” and also as stated in the nationwide Council of teachers of English’s The Students’ best to review (1982): “Censorship leaves students with an poor or distorted snapshot of the ideals, values and problems of your culture.”