Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief

by Rick Riordan

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What is the author's purpose in writing Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief?

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Rick Riordan, the author of the Percy Jackson and the Olympians, is frequently asked how he came up with the idea for this series. He explains that at some point his own son struggled with learning disabilities. As Riordan was at the time a middle school English teacher, it must have been difficult for him to have a child who had trouble being successful in school. Of course, as a parent, he wanted to encourage his son to succeed despite the obstacles. Since he frequently taught Greek mythology as a part of English curriculum, it occurred to him to create a world where ADHD and dyslexia were not handicaps, but advantages. "You brain is wired for ancient Greek," Annabeth tells Percy. She also explains that inability to focus—usually a symptom of ADHD—is what helps demigods survive in a battle with monsters. Eventually, Riordan's bedtime stories for his son have grown into a book, and then into a series.

So, the author's purpose was to encourage young people to believe in themselves—to show that what some perceive as liabilities can in fact be blessings, and that one cannot know what his or her true potential is until one tries to realize it.

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There are three purposes for which author's typically write: to entertain, to inform or teach, and to persuade.

In this book, I believe the author wrote to inform, or teach, young readers.

Riordan wrote to inform or teach readers about societal values.  He took a boy, Percy, who is an outcast and a struggling student, and put him in a setting where he could be shown a successful.  Percy was constantly unsuccessful at school and at feeling like he was a worthy person.  He had dyslexia, which led ot many of his school struggles and struggles with feeling unsuccessful.

But, the author used this book to teach young readers that everyone has a strength, a talent, and a place that they are needed.  Percy was needed by Camp Half-blood to step up and use his abilities to become a hero. Think about all of the places hroughout the book in which, if Percy were a different person, such as one of the other characters, he would have been unsuccessfully.  He had to be who he was in order to succeed.

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