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Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief

by Rick Riordan

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Percy's Heroism in Chapter 17 of The Lightning Thief

Summary:

Percy's heroism in Chapter 17 of The Lightning Thief is evident when he bravely confronts the challenges in the Underworld. Despite facing numerous dangers, Percy remains determined to rescue his mother and return the stolen lightning bolt. His courage, quick thinking, and willingness to sacrifice himself for his friends highlight his development as a hero.

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How does Percy demonstrate heroism in chapter 17 of The Lightning Thief?

Percy shows that he is a hero by displaying courage and presence of mind. He, Annabeth, and Grover travel to the Santa Monica pier, and Percy doesn't hesitate to wade into the waters and speak to the Nereid who has come to help him. Later, as the questing team travels through LA, Percy draws his sword when confronted by a group of delinquent teenagers. Though this isn't very effective, it still showcases his courage.

His presence of mind can be seen when he tricks Crusty, or Procrustes, into trying out his own bed and then promptly decapitates him. Percy uses the same method to defeat Procrustes as Theseus had several centuries before his time, showing that he has heard the tale and remembered it well enough to replicate it in his time of need.

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How does Percy demonstrate heroism in chapter 17 of The Lightning Thief?

Stereotypical heroes are brave and try to save people.  Percy does both in chapter 17.  Immediately upon entering the water, a mako shark closes in on Percy.  Instead of freaking out at the sight of an approaching shark, Percy grabs its fin.  That's brave.  I would never attempt such a thing, that's for sure.  

As for saving people, Percy saves his friends at the very end of the chapter.  He attempted to protect his friends earlier against the knife wielding kids, but failed.  Nevertheless it shows his bravery and attempts to save others.  But at the end of the chapter, Percy most definitely does save his friends.  They have unwittingly been captured by Crusty, and Percy tricks Crusty into being tied up by his own trap.  Percy quickly seizes the opportunity to save his friends.  

I would like to mention one last heroic detail about chapter 17.  Generally speaking, a hero will go through a 10-12 step heroic cycle.  At one point in that cycle, the hero is helped/mentored by someone with extra, special knowledge of some kind.  That occurs when Percy meets Nereid.  She not only gives him advice, but she gives him special hero weaponry.  She gives Percy three pearls.  

"take these, and when you are in need, smash a pearl at your feet" 

It's no different in concept than Obi-wan giving Luke his light saber or Thor finally obtaining Mjolnir.   

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How does Percy demonstrate heroism in chapter 17 of The Lightning Thief?

In chapter seventeen, Percy, Annabeth, and Grover leave Las Vegas and go to Los Angeles. The taxi they took from Las Vegas drops them off at the beach in Santa Monica; Percy then goes into the water and speaks to a Nereid (a spirit of the sea and a helper of Poseidon), who gives him three pearls and some advice about following his heart. After that, the three friends end up in a shop called Crusty's Water Bed Palace, which is run by Crusty, aka Procrustes 'The Stretcher' who was one of the giants Theseus encountered. Crusty trapped Grover and Annabeth in two of his beds and started to stretch them to fit the six-foot length of the bed (that was his M.O.). Percy shows his heroism by trapping Crusty in one of his own beds and freeing his friends.

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How is Percy depicted as a hero in chapter 17?

The short and straightforward answer to this question is that Percy Jackson is a hero in chapter 17 because he does brave things by confronting evil forces and saving his friends from death and danger. There are other moments within this chapter that contain fairly standard hero's journey tropes. Readers get a good example of the hero receiving help from an usual source early in the chapter, for instance. Percy, Annabeth, and Grover arrive at Santa Monica Beach at sunset, and Percy walks himself into the waves until he is in deep enough to hitch a ride with a mako shark. Percy is taken out until he is at the edge of a large chasm. The "spirit of the sea," Nereid, arrives and introduces herself. She then gives Percy some advice and a mystical tool. This is a familiar hero's journey device and is quite reminiscent of what happened to the Pevensie children and Santa Claus in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.

The big heroic action happens later in the chapter, when Annabeth and Grover are bound to Crusty's beds and he plans on stretching them. Percy doesn't panic or run away. Rather, he engages his enemy and charms Crusty into trying out his own bed. Percy then uses knowledge gained from his enemy to say "Ergo" and bind Crusty up. Again, gaining special knowledge from an enemy is a standard hero trope; for instance, it is what allows Mr. Incredible to defeat the robot at the end of The Incredibles.

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How does Percy Jackson demonstrate heroism in chapter 17?

After Percy, Annabeth, and Grover arrive in Los Angeles, they go to the beach, and Percy steps into the water.  He really doesn’t seem to have a plan, but he walks in until he’s up over his head, and then he forces himself to inhale water.  He seems to be hoping for some assistance from his father or some inspiration about how he and his friends can proceed on this quest.  He finds that “[he] could breathe normally.”  He meets with a Nereid who gives him the three pearls, a gift that will be very helpful in the Underworld.  Percy’s willingness to take his life into his own hands, risking personal peril, in order to help the quest is quite heroic.

Once the friends walk away from the beach, they are attacked by a gang of kids; Percy attempts to stand up to them, uncapping Riptide, and this is pretty heroic.  Though they are outnumbered, Percy doesn’t immediately run away, and this takes a lot of guts (especially because he knows that Riptide won’t work on regular mortals).

However, Percy, Annabeth, and Grover eventually run down the street to get away, going into the only store that looks open: Crusty’s Water Bed Palace.  Once there, Crusty traps them, binding them with magic to water beds with the intention of stretching them until they are six feet tall.  He reveals himself to be Procrustes, “‘The Stretcher’ […]: the giant who’d tried to kill Theseus with excess hospitality on his way to Athens.”  Percy cleverly turns the tide on Crusty, binding him to a bed and then cutting off his head so that he can free his friends.  This use of intelligence and quick-thinking is heroic.

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How does Percy demonstrate heroism in Chapter 17 of The Lightning Thief?

In Chapter Seventeen of The Lightning Thief, Percy, Annabeth, and Grover are wandering around West Hollywood in search of DOA Recording Studios (the location that holds the entrance to the Underworld).

After a run-in with a group of wealthy kids with knives, the trio runs into a store called Crusty's Water Bed Palace. There they meet Procrustes (Crusty for short), who invites them to try out a few of the water beds. Annabeth and Grover do as he suggests, but Crusty suddenly binds the two to their beds with magical ropes that he summons by snapping his fingers and saying, "Ergo!" Crusty will only release Annabeth and Grover if Percy makes them fit their six-foot-long beds by stretching their bodies out. Percy realizes that this is the mythologically infamous "Procrustes the Stretcher" who attacks people by stretching them or amputating their limbs. 

Percy shows that he is a hero in his ability to outwit and defeat Crusty. He convinces Crusty to lay down in one of his own beds and uses Crusty's own trick to bind Crusty to the bed. He then decapitates Crusty with his sword, Riptide, and frees Annabeth and Grover so that they may continue on their journey to the Underworld. 

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How is Percy Jackson portrayed as a hero in The Lightning Thief?

In more modern terms, a hero is an ordinary individual who does incredible things. In antiquity (Greek and Roman), a hero was an individual who had phenomenal or inhuman qualities and thus did inhuman and amazing things.

In The Lightning Thief, the author uses a mixture of both ideas of hero and heroism. Percy begins as an individual who seems mundane, with no particularly incredible skills, although he is out of place. Most heroes, old and modern, are out of place—this is what propels the individual into a heroic journey that allows them to attain the title of hero.

The setting shifts as Percy is, because of unfortunate circumstances, obliged to go on an "adventure" to be the savior of peace (finding Zeus's lightning bolt). This pushes him into the unreal world—into the incredible world where the mundane disappears. This is shifting towards the idea of a hero in terms of ancient Greek and Roman ideals.

One quality that define a hero in modern times is the notion of experiencing fear but overcoming it with courage. Percy experiences fear in the face of his journey but proves to be courageous (this differs from ancient notions that heroes knew no fear at all). Furthermore, a hero is willing to put themselves on the line for the sake of others—the hero is willing to sacrifice themselves to save others, which is the case for Percy, as he faces enemies and extreme danger in his quest.

Ultimately, a hero is able to achieve a particular goal using their own qualities, whether it's saving the world or standing up to someone. Percy is able to return the lightning bolt to Zeus, thus avoiding war, and to save his mother due to his courage and determination.

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How is Percy Jackson portrayed as a hero in The Lightning Thief?

A hero is an archetypal character. Percy embodies a hero throughout the course of The Lightning Thief. Heroes were quite common in Greek mythology, which relates to The Lightning Thief because this book can be viewed as a modern take on a Greek myth. A hero's journey is often split into three stages. During the departure, the hero is called to adventure and often refuses the call. This takes place in The Lightning Thief when Percy ends up at Camp Half-Blood and learns of the prophecy. At first, he does not want to accept the adventure, but he is eventually convinced by Annabeth and Chiron. Once the journey begins, he continues to follow the typical hero's journey as he leaves Camp Half-Blood.

The next stage of the hero's journey is the initiation, starting with the road of trials. We see Percy tackle several "trials" as he encounters problems on the St. Louis Arch, is attacked by Medusa, and endures other similar trials. His ultimate goal is to retrieve the stolen bolt of lightning from Hades and return it to Zeus. His reward for these trials is being able to rescue his mother from the underworld.

The final stage of the hero's journey is the return. Percy's return happens when he leaves the Underworld and brings Zeus the stolen lightning bolt. He is able to complete his journey, and he is finally recognized by his father Poseidon.

In the end, Percy is a hero because his actions prevented the gods from going to war.

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