Friday, December 13, 2013

Percy Jackson and the Last Olympian, Rick Riordan

The last Percy Jackson in this group of books. I am aware there are more, which I'm looking forward to reading. These are just fun books. Like Gregor the Overlander, the Prophesies have multiple interpretations and the reality is not always obvious. True friendship, family loyalty, selflessness are all qualities our heroes show in this installment. Plus now that everyone is getting older (15-16 for Percy and Annabeth) relationships are also blossoming. I also like the theme of how a little appreciation and recognition can go a long way. This war was fed by the fact that the minor gods got little attention and that the demigods had little to no contact with their godly parent; some went completely unclaimed (which would be the worst feeling if one of your parents, and you KNEW it was a deity, was not claiming you as a child). I am currently reading "I Am Malala" about the 15 year old girl who stood up for education in Pakistan and was shot at point blank range in the head and survived. She mentioned that her people loved their shoes, but did not respect the cobbler, they love their fine scarfs but did not acknowledge the weaver or pay respect to the craftsman. And because of this, that under appreciated group joined their enemy and made the enemy (Taliban) VERY strong. And that is REAL LIFE in VERY RECENT history. So in this fictional representation of Greek Gods, Minor Gods and Demigods, has a VERY real applicable lesson to be learned. And Percy seems to get it. That's all he wants is for everyone to receive recognition, no matter how minor, and that knowing your parentage is a valuable thing too and will add to family loyalty to fight against evil as a collective force instead of letting the evil force feed on those feelings of inadequacy and say that THEY would be a better family for you than your real family.

So let that be a lesson to you (and I am about halfway through "Malala" so that review will be coming soon). Don't look down on people as if their profession is "below you" because EVERYONE deserves our gratitude for what they do. The trash collectors? If we didn't have them, we'd have rubbish piles polluting our neighborhoods and smelling up our cities. The plumbers? Without them, many of us would be at a loss when sewage backs up and our homes would smell like squalor far longer than necessary. Even though we know it's their job and they're getting paid to do it (maybe not as much as YOU would need to be paid to do it as well!), but that doesn't mean that we can't or shouldn't show our appreciation. We're building a house. We're VERY appreciative of our builder, and we know we're paying him for it, and that could be evidence enough of our appreciation, but it's not enough when we've been through this process. We show gratitude by praising his work and craftsmanship because quite frankly, it IS AMAZING and freaking AWESOME what he can do! And we don't show gratitude because we think it's the right thing to do or because we feel obligated, we do so because we FELL appreciation and the only way to portray it is to SAY or DO something so the appreciation is known. So if someone were to make something to wear, and you buy it directly from them, you can praise the craftsmanship, you can tell everyone who made it and bring the person more business and build their reputation as an excellent craftsman. Like in the Princess and the Frog. Even though black people were still not on par with white people economically, Lottie's dad praises Tiana's mom as the "best seamstress" in the area and proves it by always commissioning her to make Lottie far more dresses than she needs or deserves. But it kind of broke the ethnic barrier, I thought, for him to treat her as the best seamstress and not "the black woman who can sew what my daughter wants for cheap" you know? It's all in the attitude. When people don't feel appreciated, they tend to get negative and look for ways to be known-you know how you learn about little kids, ANY attention is better than NO attention, even if it's NEGATIVE attention in the form of yelling, disciplining, punishing? And conflict inevitable rises up. So hopefully the young people today who are reading Percy Jackson will be able to feel that conflict and to help avoid it by showing friendship and gratitude to those around them.

No comments:

Post a Comment