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From New York to Los Angeles, CA, and all the stops along the way. Are you ready to travel around America, following Percy on his quest? This story takes place everywhere: in the sky, in the sea, underground, and all across America. It takes place in the present, and so you’ll probably recognize a lot of the places that Percy visits, both from the world you live in and the Ancient Greek stories you may have heard about.
Percy is from Queens, NY. His mom lives in a little apartment with Percy’s stepdad, Smelly Gabe. Percy always seems to feel homesick for this apartment. This desire to go home tells us a lot about how much he loves his mom, because going home also means confronting the worst stepdad in the world. Here is a good description of what it’s usually like at home: Smelly Gabe was in the living room, playing poker with his buddies. The television blared ESPN. Chips and beer were strewn all over the carpet.
Gabe uses Percy’s room as his “study”, littering his magazine and dirty clothes everywhere. Percy and his mom have being going to Montauk Beach since Percy was a baby, and this beach is also the place where Sally fell in love with Poseidon. When they visit, all of their fears seem to melt away, and Sally seems to get younger and more carefree. They tell stories and forget the real world for the weekend. Percy later realizes that when he was little, he used to see the faces of smiling women in the beach waves – these were Nereids, keeping watch over him. Here, Percy describes their rental cabin at Montauk: Our rental cabin was on the south shore, way out at the tip of Long Island. It was a little pastel box with faded curtains, half sunken into the dunes. There was always sand in the sheets and spiders in the cabinets, and most of the time the sea was too cold to swim in.
Now, doesn’t that kind of sound like cabin #3 at Camp Half-Blood? Yancy Academy is “a private school for troubled kids in upstate New York” (1.8), and it is a boarding school. There, Percy is surrounded by kids very different from him: They’re kids from very affluent families, but whose parents don’t necessarily care much about them. When Percy discovers at the end of his sixth-grade year that he will not be invited back, he tells us that he will miss, “the view of the woods out my dorm window, the Hudson River in the distance, the smell of pine trees”.
Camp Half-Blood isn’t your normal camp where the campers learn skills like swimming, canoeing, and arts and crafts. It’s a camp for young demi-gods and demi-goddesses (a.k.a. the children born of Olympian gods and their human boyfriends/girlfriends). There, half-bloods train in the art of killing monsters and of surviving in the mortal and immortal worlds. Dionysus – a.k.a. Mr. D – is the camp director, and Chiron, a famous hero trainer, helps out. Percy tells us that, “in all there were maybe a hundred campers, a few dozen satyrs, and a dozen assorted wood nymphs and naiads” (6.109). Check out Percy’s map of Camp Half-Blood as you read his description of it: The landscape was dotted with buildings that looked like ancient Greek architecture—an open-air pavilion, and amphitheater, a circular arena—except that they all looked brand new, their white marble columns sparkling in the sun. In a nearby sandpit, a dozen high school-age kids and satyrs played volleyball. Canoes glided across a small lake. Kids in bright orange T-shirts like Grover’s were chasing each other around a cluster of cabins nestled in the woods. Some shot targets at an archery range. Others rode horses down a wooded trail, and, unless I was hallucinating, some of their horses had wings Here, the weather is always nice, and it never rains. That is, unless Zeus decides to make it rain. Here are the cabins at Camp Half-Blood (check out our “Characters” section to learn more about who these gods are and what they are like). Imagine them in a U-shape with Zeus and Hera’s cabins at the head. Percy describes them as “without doubt the most bizarre collection of buildings I’d ever seen”. We found a map of the cabins for you too if it helps. Cabin #1: ZeusCabin #2: HeraCabin #3: PoseidonCabin #4: DemeterCabin #5: AresCabin #6: AthenaCabin #7: HermesCabin #8: ArtemisCabin #9: HephaestusCabin #10: AphroditeCabin #11: Hermes
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