Study Guide

Artemis Fowl Chapter 2

By Eoin Colfer

Chapter 2

Translation

  • The reader gets directly addressed again—is this the narratorfrom the Prologue? Whatever, at least he or she finally tells us what Artemis is looking for: gold.
  • The scene dips into a little bit of backtracking to explainhow Artemis got to this point.
  • Here's where you'll really start to see when this book waswritten, since it mentions that Artemis first became interested in surfing the Internet when he was ten, and implies that it really hasn't been around long.
  • Artemis's online research took him through the legends of manydifferent countries and cultures, and he noticed that all of them had the same legends about fairies and their Books, which is basically the fairy bible.
  • Supposedly all the legends say the same thing about the Bookthough, and that's that it's in Gnommish and can't be translated.
  • Artemis believes he can translate it though, so he put out anonline ad seeking information about fairies, sprites, pixies, and the like, and finally got what he wanted.
  • Apparently this worked out because Artemis is the perfect agefor still believing in fairies and yet wanting to steal from them.
  • Back in the present, Artemis gets home and decides to pay hismother a visit.
  • We get a little more background insight into the Fowl familylife when we learn that Artemis's mother hasn't been out of her room in a year, right around the time Artemis Senior disappeared.
  • A new character comes into play when Artemis runs into Butler'slittle sister, Juliet, who is apparently acting as a kind of maid/helper for Artemis's mom—also, she loves wrestling.
  • A glimpse into Artemis's head tells us that he's torn betweenwanting his mom to get better and wanting to continue avoiding all the boring stuff about being a kid, like going to school.
  • Artemis goes into his mother's room, where she's throwingthings and yelling about the glare in the window, and smoothly lies to her about where he's been.
  • Showing her deteriorating mental condition, Angeline Fowltells Artemis to get rid of her good-for-nothing maid, so Artemis takes advantage of her lack of memory and reintroduces her to Juliet.
  • Artemis and his mom hug, and she tells him a really creepylittle story about her hallucinations.
  • We realize how bad her condition really is when she suddenlydemands Artemis stop calling her mother because he's not her son. Ouch.
  • Unlike most of the time, Artemis doesn't seem to know what todo, so he plays along until he leaves the room.
  • Translation of the book is proving to be impossible with everycomputer program Artemis tries, so he gets a little old-fashioned and prints out all the pages.
  • He seizes on the symbol of a small male figure and gets theidea to try comparing it to the Anubis symbol in ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics.
  • There's a small line that you can almost miss about how theEgyptians must have used an existing alphabet, meaning they must have been around at a time when humans and fairies shared knowledge together.
  • Artemis finds out that he has to print each symbolindividually and compare it to the hieroglyphs, making some adjustments here and there for things that wouldn't match up across cultures.
  • Because this is 2001, Artemis feeds his alphabet key into a "Macintosh"and presses "Decode."
  • When the program spits out gibberish, Artemis experiments withthe order of the lines and columns and sees that it's supposed to be read in spirals.
  • Artemis cuts up the original pages and rearranges them into standardEnglish format, then rescans a page and runs it through his modified translator.
  • Decode Take Two works just fine, and he ends up with oneprinted page. He really has a long way to go.
  • There's a lot of fairy poetry involved here, but the gist isthat humans are bad, the Book teaches you everything, and fairies that share the Book with a human are basically doomed.
  • Because it would take Artemis forever to assemble all theseGnommish word puzzles on his own, he gets Butler and Juliet to help.
  • The narrator detours again to give us some Fowl familyhistory.
  • The Fowl family has been involved in criminal activityforever, mostly because they prefer that to legal stuff.
  • Artemis Senior put a bunch of the Fowl fortune into shippinglines to Russia, but the Russian Mafia didn't like that much and blew up his ship.
  • Because apparently it makes a difference having billions ofdollars instead of just millions, Artemis's whole plan is to make up for his father's mistake and recoup the family fortune.
  • When the Book is completely translated, Artemis shuts downeverything except his plotting, including the computer program searching for news of his missing father.
  • Butler is probably the only one who understands what thismeans, so he pats Artemis on the shoulder once and goes back to work.