Percy Jackson's Hero's Journey in The Lightning Thief

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The Lightning Thief - Hero's Journey


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Activity Overview

Related to both plot diagram and types of literary conflict, the ”Hero’s Journey” is a recurring pattern of stages many heroes undergo over the course of their stories. Joseph Campbell, an American mythologist, writer, and lecturer, articulated this cycle after researching and reviewing numerous myths and stories from a variety of time periods and regions of the world. He found that they all share fundamental principles. This led to the Hero’s Journey, also known as the Monomyth.

Percy Jackson has his own Hero’s Journey, just like the great heroes of old. He is, after all, a demigod born of Poseidon. Have students work together to discover the important events that fit into each category. This activity may be very challenging, so consider breaking up the Hero’s Journey components among groups of students, or working together as a class to identify them. There are different interpretations, depending on whether you focus on Percy’s main quest or his entire journey in his new world.

Example Hero's Journey for The Lightning Thief

Ordinary World Percy Jackson is a regular trouble-making kid with ADHD and dyslexia going to school for troubled kids in New York.
Call to Adventure Percy’s identity has been discovered and he is in danger from monster attacks. His mother and protector bring him to Camp Half-Blood, through a hurricane, with monsters on their heels.
Refusal Poseidon claims Percy as his son. Percy is suspected of being the thief who stole the master bolt. Percy resents being accused of something he didn’t do, but takes the quest to prove himself.
Mentor/Helpers Chiron advises Percy before he leaves. Grover Underwood and Annabeth Chase go with Percy on his quest.
Cross Threshold Argus drops the three off at the bus station. They are now alone, with no protection from Camp Half-Blood.
Allies/Tests/Enemies The heroic trio undergo many trials and face many enemies on their journey from New York to Los Angeles.
Approach Percy, Annabeth, and Grover bribe Charon to take them to the Underworld, in order to retrieve the master bolt from Hades.
Ordeal The three heroes discover that Hades' own helm of darkness is missing, and the master bolt magically appeared inside the pack given by Ares! After escaping Hades’ wrath by using the pearls, Percy battles Ares on the beach.
Reward Percy is able to wound Ares in his heel. Ares refrains from killing him, but because Percy won, he wins the master bolt and the helm of darkness.
Road Back A son of Poseidon in the air is dangerous, but Percy flies in an airplane to get to Mount Olympus in time. Percy meets his father and Zeus for the first time.
Atonement Zeus considers whether or not to obliterate Percy. Percy returns the master bolt to Zeus and reports about the darkness in Tartarus that influenced Ares.
Return The three heroes return to Camp Half-Blood in triumph.

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Template and Class Instructions

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Student Instructions

Use the story of The Lightning Thief and map it to the narrative structure of the Hero's Journey.

  1. Click "Start Assignment".
  2. Depict and describe how the chosen character's story fits (or does not fit ) into each of the stages of the Hero's Journey.
  3. Finalize images, edit, and proofread your work.
  4. Save and submit storyboard to assignment.



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