Percy realizes that unless he gets out of the Lotus Casino quickly, he will "stay here, happy forever, playing games forever, and soon forget my mom, and my quest, and maybe my own name. I'd be...

Percy realizes that unless he gets out of the Lotus Casino quickly, he will "stay here, happy forever, playing games forever, and soon forget my mom, and my quest, and maybe my own name. I'd be playing Virtual Rifleman with groovy Disco Darin forever." What critique is the author offering at modern life and do you agree with it? 

Expert Answers
Michael Ugulini eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The critique that the author is offering at modern life is that we can tend, if we’re not careful, to engage in activities that are, in essence, a waste of time, or produce nothing of lasting value. Consider exactly what Percy says; he says he’d be playing games forever. This is a swipe at today’s gambling as well as digital society where many people have their heads constantly buried in the screen of a cell phone, smartphone, tablet, laptop, or personal computer (PC). Furthermore, many people are enticed with today’s burgeoning gambling environment, where it seems everywhere you look a new local casino is being advertised, well beyond Las Vegas or Atlantic City. Consider all the online casinos and gambling that occurs worldwide as well.

It seems people are always online and constantly engaging with others. However, is all this engaging profitable or just useless, mindless chatter? The same with video games, online games, and such. The author is suggesting that in our quest for escapism and entertainment, we lose the “human touch”; we become less able to have one-on-one, face-to-face, intelligent, productive discourse with others.

Furthermore, the author suggests that we do forget our families and friends because we become so tuned into other worlds, for example, in contemporary society, the digital world. However, we can become tuned out of the “real world.” This is evidenced by the phrase noted above, “and soon forget my mom,”

I think it is significant that the author has Percy say that he may also forget his own name and also his quest. Forgetting one’s own name is more a reference to one becoming dehumanized in a sense. Wrapped up in escapism, games, and entertainment, a person can begin to live his life through these means, not really partaking of activities in his or her own life with others (family, relatives, and friends). Furthermore, forgetting one’s quest is tantamount to forgetting one’s purpose in life. There is more to life than mindless entertainment. There is more to life than playing games online or game-playing in a casino.

Do I agree with the author’s critique of modern life? Yes, I agree with it wholeheartedly. I have to be careful myself to not fall into the trap the author’s referring to in the story. I to can be wrapped up in distractions that are of no lasting value. Modern life and its technological innovations can be used for good, productive activities. Nonetheless, it is too easy to just waste time with many of the modern conveniences and innovations we have at our disposal daily. Therefore, I agree with what the author’s getting at and realize it takes discipline to not let oneself be swayed by activities and devices that do not promote the development of quality character.

mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There is often a need in people for illusion and distraction as too frequently "the world is too much with us" as William Wordsworth wrote. However, the problem is that this illusion and, so often, also, distractions supersede the truly valuable elements of existence.

In The Lightning Thief, ironically, illusion becomes reality as Percy Jackson uncovers the identity of mythological figures that exist in his world. When Hades offers to return Percy's mother to life if Percy will give him Zeus's lightning bolt, Percy undertakes the journey, but realizes he and his friends have been duped. Nevertheless, they escape and face Ares, "the god who has turned." Ares is defeated by Percy, who reclaims the Helm of Darkness, and abyss. Afterwards, he quickly returns to Hades.

Such undertakings are strenuous if not almost impossible for one so young as Percy. It is, therefore, no wonder that he feels the need for escape, both from the mythological world where he is a hero, and from his personal life where he is subjected to abuse and physical deficiencies. Thus, children such as Percy so often feel empowered in imaginary worlds. And, now that he experiences a much more complicated world of both real and surreal, Percy's desire is to seek illusion more than ever. However, this escapism is addictive because in it a person can better control outcomes; moreover, his talents lie in this world as a swordsman and manipulator of water. Life is too tenuous, too dangerous, too changeable, requiring great moral courage and initiative; yet, it is the stuff of which real character is formed. 

amysor | Student

The author is suggesting that getting to caught up with luxuries will mislead you from your path, and distract you. This relates the the modern day, where our life styles are filled with phones, TV, computers, etc. Being too caught up with twitter of instagram can change your focus. It will make you stray from your goals and in general, life. Talking with someone or texting is nothing compared to talking to people in person. This can make you lack social skills, and make it harder to communicate with people in real life. Also, it creates an escape from reality. People use technology to escape their lives, and create ones they wished they had, instead of actually living their lives. It is important to not get devoured by luxuries, or else, it will really hurt you in the end, and it might even change you as a person.

rachellopez | Student

The author can be alluding to a couple different things, one main thing being technology. People in this generation are constantly looking at our phones, laptops, televisions, and game consoles. We can't seem to go a day without getting online and chatting with our friends via Facebook or Twitter. It seems as though we are in a virtual reality, never seeing anyone face to face and ignoring the opportunities we have in front of us. Technology isn't a waste, however it is blinding us from reality; it's just an escape. We can't live online forever and there are more important things in life than a game or an update. I do agree with this idea, yet I don't think I could get myself to stay away.

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