The Lightning Thief

The Lightning Thief Metaphors and Similes

“Just as it hit me, as I stumbled backward and felt its razor-sharp claws ripping through my armor, there was a cascade of thwacking sounds, like forty pieces of paper being ripped one after the other” (Chapter 8, pg. 130) (Simile)

This simile emphasizes the strength of the hound that was summoned into Camp Half-Blood to attack Percy following the game of capture the flag. This monster is able to tear apart his armor as if it were merely paper, and it is a worthy introduction to all of the monsters that Percy will soon be up against on his quest.

“The Fury I’d hilt-slammed came at me again, talons ready, but I swung Riptide and she broke open like a piñata” (Chapter 10, pg. 173) (Simile)

Percy, Annabeth, and Grover fight the Furies on their bus from New York City, and Percy uses this simile to compare killing the Fury to breaking open a piñata. This emphasizes the strength of Percy’s sword, Riptide, as well as the skills he is developing as he continues to fight monsters along his journey.

“All the people rose, as if they were hypnotized, but the biker waved his hand dismissively and they all sat down again” (Chapter 15, pg. 233) (Simile)

This simile stresses the hypnotizing effect that Ares has on all of the people around him. At the time, Percy is not aware that he is in the presence of a god; however, with one look at Ares it is clear that he is powerful in some significant way. Though the gods can take human forms like this, they are still distinct from mortals in the way they carry themselves.

“Pencil cactuses grew in the corner like skeleton hands” (Chapter 18, pg. 296) (Simile)

This simile comes as Percy and his friends are walking into the lobby of the recording studio that will serve as their gateway to the underworld. The choice of comparison is deliberate, as it evokes images of death with the word “skeleton," getting readers thinking about the dead before the protagonists even enter the underworld.

“It was like looking at the ocean: some days, you could tell what mood it was in. Most days, though, it was unreadable, mysterious” (Chapter 21, pg. 354) (Simile)

Percy meets his father for the first time and attempts to read his expression, but immediately compares him to the mysterious ocean. This emphasizes Poseidon’s connection to the ocean; it is a part of him, an essential component of his being. It also makes it clear how distant Percy feels from this man who has not been present in his life until this point.