Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief

by Rick Riordan

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How does Percy Jackson grow to appreciate his father, Poseidon, in The Lightning Thief?

Quick answer:

Percy Jackson becomes appreciative of Poseidon, his father, in Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief because his father saves his life. When a Chimera forces Percy to leap into the Mississippi River, Poseidon's protection ensures his survival. He also learns that his father believes in him.

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When Percy first learns of his true identity, he’s pretty upset with Poseidon, and for good reason. In his twelve years, he’s never had a visit from his father, and Poseidon has not offered him or his mother any support whatsoever—physically, emotionally, or financially. He has been plunged into a world that is terrifying at times, and has still received no support from his father, who has only now “claimed” him because he needs Percy’s help with “a job.”

Percy’s feelings change when his father saves his life. When a Chimera sends a column of flame towards Percy, he is forced to take a leap into the Mississippi River, and is astounded to find that he has escaped without being “flattened into a pancake” or “barbecued.” He is even more astounded to realize that despite the fact that he is in water, he is dry and able to create a flame using a discarded cigarette lighter that floats past him. Realizing that Poseidon has saved his life, Percy feels compelled to thank his father, which he does, receiving no immediate response.

Suddenly, Percy’s sword appears in front of him, and “a woman the color of water” tells Percy that his father believes in him. Before leaving the water, he thanks his father a second time. In a nutshell, Percy Jackson becomes appreciative of his father, Poseidon, when he realizes that he is no longer absent from his life but rather saving his life.

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