Study Guide

Artemis Fowl Family

By Eoin Colfer

Family

Artemis was the closest thing Butler had to a friend, and Butler was the closest Artemis had to a father, albeit one who obeyed orders. (1.129)

A lot of Artemis's personality obviously comes from his father and his disappearance, but considering that Butler's been around Artemis his whole life, it seems like Butler's probably influenced him too. 

People said he was a chip off the old block. They were wrong. Master Artemis was a brand new block, the likes of which had never been seen before. (1.138)

What's interesting here is that Butler is the only one who could actually say this and we would believe him. He's the only one in the story who knows exactly what Artemis Fowl Jr. and Sr. are/were like.

Artemis stepped into the shadowy folds of his mother's robe. She smelled perfumed, like petals in water. But her arms were cold and weak. (2.34)

Watch for the reappearance of the perfume later in the story when his mother's madness is cured. Scents are a big part of how animals recognize family, and it's a curiously primal detail to have Artemis so focused on his mother's perfume, like it's the only stable thing about her.

The Fowls were not left destitute, far from it. But billionaire status was no longer theirs. Artemis the Second vowed to […] restore the family fortune. (2.73)

Here's a pretty giant question: why? They don't need it, and he doesn't ever seem to care much about the logistics of converting gold into cash, so maybe the whole family fortune thing is simply because Artemis feels obligated to share in the family legacy in some way.

The CNN site had been running for almost a year. Artemis was convinced that news of his father's rescue would come from there. Shutting it down meant that he was finally letting go. (2.79)

Is a new project all it took for Artemis to let go? What is it about exploiting the People that makes Artemis choose to stop the search for his father?

Beside her was a facsimile of his father, constructed from the morning suit he'd worn […]. The clothes were padded with tissue, and atop the dress shirt was a stuffed pillowcase with lipstick features. It was almost funny. (6.36)

Almost funny, except far too creepy to be funny. 

"Shut up about Mommy, will you? And the ironing. You're only on this mission because I requested you!" (6.225)

Grubb's not a super duper awesome officer, and the only reason to request him is that Trouble feels responsible for helping his career along. Unfortunately, just because he's family doesn't mean he's prepared for combat, and putting family first can sometimes really mean holding them back. 

It was possibly the first time he had ever abandoned Master Artemis in a time of crisis. But Juliet was family, and there was obviously something seriously wrong with his baby sister. (8.205)

Butler may be a surrogate father to Artemis, but this book claims that the blood relationship trumps everything—it keeps Butler from protecting Artemis and makes Artemis give up half the gold in exchange for his mother's sanity.

Juliet was alive, it was true. […] Every brain cell in his head screamed for him to pull the trigger. But Juliet was alive. (8.338)

Deep down at the core of family loyalty (especially in Butler) is a survival instinct that says that keeping your family alive is the most important thing. So why does Artemis so easily stop the search for his father?

Artemis stepped into his mother's embrace. It was warm and strong. She was wearing perfume. He felt like the boy he was. (9.397)

Artemis doesn't appear to be a kid until he has a mother again, because family is a huge part of what makes us who we are—and it's hard to be a kid without any adults around to parent you.

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