Study Guide

Artemis Fowl Race

By Eoin Colfer

Race

If there actually was an innocent goblin, Holly Short had yet to meet him. They were clogging up the cells now, howling gang chants and hurling fireballs at each other. (3.9)

The word "clogging" makes it seem like goblins only really have one use, and that's filling up jail cells and using police resources to watch them. And apparently this happens just because they're goblins.

Mulch started, contraband dropping from his sleeve.

"Officer Short," he whined, his face a mask of regret. "I can't help myself. It's my nature." (3.18-19)

Considering the later appearances of Mulch with brazen confidence in the face of authority, this sad image of Mulch stands out. Why claim that dwarfs are basically born kleptomaniacs?

[…] if there was one race the People felt an affinity for it was the Irish. Perhaps it was their eccentricity, their dedication to the <em>craic</em>, as they called it. And if the People were actually related to humans, as another theory had it, odds are that the Emerald Isle was where it started. (4.48)

"Craic" is a real Irish word that means something like news, gossip, or fun, so essentially the People like the Irish because they can party. Which is both a generalization about Irish people and odd since we don't see much fairy fun in this book. 

There was a human before her, casually spouting sacred secrets. This was disastrous. Catastrophic. [...] If the humans were aware of a fairy subculture, it was only a matter of time before the two species went to war. (4.83)

The People existed before human societies, so suggesting that fairy culture is a derivative of some other culture—which the word <em>subculture</em> implies—is inaccurate and offensive. 

The elf/goblin combo watched as Root disappeared in a cloud of cigar smoke. (5.161) 

If you blink, you'll miss it, but this is the only time we get proof that the fairy folk can and do mate across racial lines. And calling it an "elf/goblin combo" is not exactly a great way of embracing this fact.

The goblin/dwarf turf war was flaring up at the moment and some bright spark LEP elf had seen fit to put him in a cell with a gang of psyched-up goblins. (7.6)

The term "turf war" suggests that there is a long history of racialized gang violence between goblins and dwarfs, and that the LEP elves are so out of it that they don't care whether they're contributing to the problem.

He'd seen it too many times in the back alleys. A group of goblins would corner a stray brother dwarf, pin him down, and then the leader would give him the double barrels straight to the face. (7.39)

The implication here is that gangs of goblins find dwarfs alone and fry them. Ugh.

"You opted to send in a lapsed creature. So now I'm going to." (8.81)

Magic is evidently another dimension that adds to the division between races—Mulch is referred to as a "lapsed creature" in the same breath as a troll, which isn't capable of speech or higher thought, simply because he no longer has magical abilities like the LEP elves do.

"A casualty of war? How can you say that? A life is a life." (9.224)

Unlike pretty much everyone else, Holly points out that race doesn't matter when you're talking about murder. Somewhere along the line she must have grown out of her disinterest in saving humans, perhaps because she spent real time with a range of them.

"You know the stories—elves that made shoes during the night, sprites that cleaned houses. Back when we coexisted to a certain extent. Magical favors in exchange for their fairy forts. (9.356)

This sounds more like an oppressive relationship than an exchange of favors, so it wouldn't be hard to imagine that when the People separated from humans they turned around and oppressed certain types of fairies, bringing about the divisions in the races.

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