Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief

by Rick Riordan

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In chapter 10 from Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief, what is Percy's reaction towards his conflicts?

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In chapter 10, as in most situations, Percy's response to conflict is to help his friends. In this scene, he, Annabeth, and Grover are on a bus. When three old ladies board the bus, they realize that the old ladies are not what they seem. In fact, they are the...

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In chapter 10, as in most situations, Percy's response to conflict is to help his friends. In this scene, he, Annabeth, and Grover are on a bus. When three old ladies board the bus, they realize that the old ladies are not what they seem. In fact, they are the Furies, “the three worst monsters from the Underworld.”

Annabeth suggests that Percy take her cap and turn invisible because the Furies want him, not the other two. However, Percy, as usual, wants to defend his friends. His reply to Annabeth is, "I can't just leave you." Annabeth convinces Percy that she and Grover will be fine, and he takes the cap.

He is able to move past the Furies and is “free” from them. However, when they surround Grover and Annabeth, Percy realizes that he must unite with his friends to overpower the Furies. As in many other conflict situations, Percy chooses to save his friends even if it means putting himself in danger.

Percy takes control of the bus, grabbing the wheel from the driver. He jerks the wheel to the left, tossing all the riders—including the Furies—to the right side of the bus. When that does not work, he slams on the brakes. Percy hopes that the three Furies will smash against the windows or the seats and be too dazed to come after the three friends.

When this strategy fails, Percy says,

I looked at the open doorway. I was free to go, but I couldn't leave my friends.

He helps the other two, and eventually they manage to free themselves from the Furies.

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Percy has a series of emotional reactions to his conflicts. First, as he is sent off by himself for the first time, he feels energized and exhilarated. He thinks:

For the first time, the quest felt real. I was actually leaving Half-Blood Hill. I was heading west with no adult supervision, no backup plan, not even a cell phone.

But as he embarks on his adventurous quest, his feelings about it become more mixed. As he thinks of his smelly step-father, who his mother married mostly to protect him, Percy grows angry at Poseidon, his real father, for not being more of a help to his mom. His emotions begin to get more turbulent and then focus on his mother:

The truth was, I didn't care about retrieving Zeus's lightning bolt, or saving the world, or even helping my father out of trouble. The more I thought about it, I resented Poseidon for never visiting me, never helping my mom, never even sending a lousy child-support check. He'd only claimed me because he needed a job done. All I cared about was my mom. Hades had taken her unfairly, and Hades was going to give her back.

Then, as he realizes he actually has to fight the furies on the bus, fear mixes with a burst of adrenaline, and he trembles. As the adrenaline takes over, his ADHD kicks in, and he reacts impulsively, wrestling the driver for control of the bus and crashing it. But he rises to the occasion with his newly-acquired bronze sword Riptide and fights the furies bravely.

Percy might not feel warmly towards Poseidon or want to be of service to him, but he does wish to save his mom, and he uses the emotions surging through him to engage in conflict and fight the furies.

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Percy's journey through this novel generally follows the standard steps in the heroic journey. Chapter nine contains Percy's call to action. He is given a quest, and chapter ten shows Percy stepping into that quest. The key is that he isn't a fully-fledged hero yet that is in total control of his abilities and fear. He is willing to step toward danger, and he is given tools (like his pen sword) that will allow him to confront danger.

Almost immediately upon leaving the camp, Percy is met with a rising action that brings in more conflict. Mrs. Dobbs and her fellow Furies enter the bus, and Percy's group is forced to take action. Percy, Grover, and Annabeth all begin battling the monsters, and Percy and his abilities are key to their victory.

In general, Percy doesn't necessarily seek out conflict, but he is willing to face it. Percy isn't the kind of character to run away from conflict.

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In chapter 10, Percy's reaction towards his conflicts is to fight.

We learn in the chapter that Annabeth and Grover are accompanying Percy on his quest. Before they leave, Chiron gives Percy the weapon Anaklusmos (or "Riptide"). Riptide, as Percy prefers to call it, is actually a powerful, celestial sword disguised as a pen.

When Percy, Annabeth, and Grover board the bus, a nasty surprise awaits them. Mrs. Dodds and two other old ladies are there. In reality, the three old women are the Furies: Greek goddesses of vengeance.

To protect Percy, Annabeth gives Percy her Yankees cap (a present from her mother, Athena), which makes him invisible to everyone. Initially, Percy refuses to leave his friends; but, as the Furies reveal their true selves, he is forced to accept Annabeth's help.

Instead of getting off the bus, however, Percy makes his way to the front of the bus. There, the invisible Percy tries to take over the wheel from the bus driver. The bus veers to the side, while both the bus driver and Percy wrestle for the wheel. Eventually, Percy manages to press on the emergency brake. As a result, the bus veers off the road and crashes into some trees.

Everyone gets off the bus, except for the Furies, Grover, Percy, and Annabeth. As for Percy, he unsheaths Riptide and uses it to engage in an epic fight with the Furies. Annabeth and Grover fight by his side.

In the end, Percy manages to dispatch two of the Furies with Riptide. Mrs. Dodds, however, remains relatively unscathed. She eventually becomes so desperate that she blows up the bus in an attempt to kill them.

Percy, Grover, and Annabeth manage to flee the bus before it explodes, but they find that they have to get further away. With the two Furies dispatched and Mrs. Dodds on the run, it's only a matter of time before reinforcements come to attack the three young friends.

In all, Percy decides to stand and fight, despite the dangers he encounters.

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