If Persephone is learning mythology, why doesn’t she recognize references to herself in the myths she’s learning about in school?
Because Persephone lives in an alternate universe where the myths are still unfolding. There IS no Persephone in mythology yet. She’s THE Persephone. Not a reincarnation, not a cyclical version of herself trapped in a recurring myth. There has never been a Persephone before her that had any mythological relevance and there won’t be one after her. That’s also why she doesn’t recognize Orpheus’s name or many of the other names of famous mythological figures she encounters. She recognizes the name Demeter, but she thought the name of her mother’s flower shop was just a play on the ancient goddess as Demeter doesn’t go by Demeter in the modern day (literally no other character that wasn’t a god ever referred to her by name, so I didn’t have a chance to explain that without it seeming info dumpy until she introduces herself to one of Apollo’s priestesses in book 3).
I tried to show that Persephone is set in a previously Persephone-less world by opening with her teaching talking about THE myth that’s used to explain the origin of Winter. In our society, that myth is the Persephone myth. In this one it’s not. They used a similar (and yes, existing. Boreas and Oreithyia are mythology figures and that is their story even outside the world of my book) myth. That’s the myth that school children everywhere learn instead of the Persephone one. Because there is no Persephone one. It hasn’t happened yet.