Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory
Did you happen to notice that there are a lot of games played in this story (both literal and figurative). We know that Mr. D loves playing Pinochle and often gets his booty kicked by Chiron. He is shocked to know that Percy doesn't know how to play. Annabeth is the captain of the Capture-the-Flag team – she and other campers spend weeks strategizing and preparing for games. It's not your typical PE activity. These games are violent and remind us of what it's like to be on a quest. Percy, Grover, and Annabeth play hackey sack with an apple as they wait for a Greyhound bus. Later on, they nearly forget their mission all together when they find themselves in the midst of a free, all-you-can-eat, endless arcade of a casino. All this talk of games makes us think of how Percy often tells us that he feels like a pawn of the gods, manipulated and used by them, as if the lives of mortals were just a game for the gods.