Study Guide

Artemis Fowl Narrator Point of View

By Eoin Colfer

Narrator Point of View

Second Person and Third Person (Omniscient) / Dr. J. Argon, B.Psych

We know this sounds a little strange at first, but there are actually two different points of view used by the same narrator in this book. Mind blown? Stick with us; it gets better.

The narrator, Dr. Argon, shows up about two-thirds of the way through the book to analyze Artemis's facial expressions and basically tell whether he's a sociopath who can lie without giving it away. And by shows up, we mean he literally appears in the plot. Here's the kicker, though—we don't know this guy's the narrator until the last few lines. Tricky.

Okay. So we have one narrator, who shows up briefly in the plot. But when it comes to the point of view he takes, it shifts depending on where we are in the story. If this sounds complicated, don't worry—it's actually quite simple once we break the book down into two narratives: the frame, and the middle.

In the frame—which includes the prologue and epilogue—Dr. Argon speaks directly to the reader (or to someone, anyway—we like to think we're the you he's addressing, but perhaps he's talking to someone else). In this part of the narrative the book goes into the second person, and as readers we feel directly addressed.

For the middle narrative, though—which is the majority of the story—Dr. Argon gives us an omniscient look into multiple characters' minds and motivations, hopping around from place to place and moving through time fluidly, all while never acknowledging our presence. This part is in the third person—there are no I's or yous—and we can read freely without feeling implicated by the text.

The thing about Dr. Argon, though, is that at the very end—in the last line of the epilogue, after he addresses us directly—he says the "Details are 94% accurate, 6% unavoidable extrapolation." And while a ninety-four on an exam is something to crow about, since we have no way of knowing which moments of the story the accurate parts, Dr. Argon ends the book by basically announcing that he's an unreliable narrator. It's good to know, but also a confusing note to end the book on.

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