Study Guide

Artemis Fowl The Environment

By Eoin Colfer

The Environment

Although she was enjoying the night air, Holly could taste traces of pollutants. The Mud People destroyed everything they came into contact with. (3.167)

Since this little moment occurs immediately before Holly fires up a noisy, fume-emitting gas engine on her pair of wings, is it really possible to blanket all humans with the blame for pollution?

From the earth thine power flows, / Given through courtesy, so thanks are owed. (4.5)

This idea is brought out in the beginning of the book and never touched again—what kind of thanks? Is eating organic food and trying not to pollute enough of a thank you? Or is there something more active that would qualify as thanks here?

She called out to the dolphins and they rose to the surface […]. She could see the pollution in them, bleaching their skin white and giving them red sores on their backs. […] Mud People had a lot to answer for. (4.46)

It's obvious that the humans aren't busy restoring the oceans and the land, but it seems like the fairies should be able to step in and care for the animals they connect with. 

Artemis Fowl did not like whalers. There were less objectionable ways to produce oil by-products. (6.1)

You know you're bad when a criminal thinks you're objectionable, but letting the ship's residue and wreckage sink into the water isn't exactly saving the planet, either. 

"Fruit then. Or vegetables. Make sure they're washed. I don't want any of your chemical poisons in my blood." […]

"Don't worry, all our produce is grown naturally." (6.323-324)

This is almost a throwaway line in the book, but it brings up an interesting question. Does the Fowl estate have a produce garden on its premises? That's an odd thing to try to grown on marshy, medieval land.

"I return you to the earth," she whispered, worming her fist into the tiny space. "And claim the gift that is my right." (7.272)

"The gift that is my right" is a strange phrase. How can a gift be a right? And again, what happened to this being a gift of courtesy from the earth? Giving back an acorn you picked up off the ground doesn't seem like a thank-you.

In seconds he felt the rhythmic thumping of an approaching rabbit. […] The poor animal never had a chance. Sorry, friend, thought the dwarf. If there was any other way… (7.355-356)

The book appears to end up at a <em>do good unless bad is necessary</em> kind of philosophy, including with the environment. 

His migraine was not helped by the pungent cigar feeding toxins into his system. (9.187)

If Holly can taste pollutants in the air the second she hits the surface, she should be throwing up standing next to Root.

The radioactive element used in the core was solinium 2, which had a half-life of fourteen seconds. This effectively meant that Foaly could tune the bio-bomb to blue-rinse only Fowl Manor and not one blade of grass more […]. (9.264)

The fairies have complex rules about violence, but even more complex ones about their impact on the environment. 

The manor was a cradle of death. Holly could smell it. Behind those medieval walls lay the bodies of a million insects, and under its floors the cooling corpses of spiders and mice. (9.286)

Think about the phrase "cradle of death." Cradles are for sleeping babies, not the bodies of dead things, so why use it? It creates a mismatch between a space that should house the living but instead reeks of death.

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