Study Guide

Artemis Fowl Race

By Eoin Colfer

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You'd think with a whole gaggle of fairy creatures and even some human ones, Artemis Fowl would mostly deal with racism on a species-wide level between humans and magical creatures—a division between those with powers and those without. This isn't the case though. 

Instead race is crucial in the fairy world, and the personalities—and occupations—of different characters are presented as pretty much inevitabilities based on their race. Ever wonder why only certain types of creatures end up in jail and other types end up as police officers? Race is totally amplified here (i.e. goblins and dwarfs are wildly different species) and tells you who a fairy will become, what job they'll have, and how they'll act. Yeah, it's kind of a problem. 

Questions About Race

  1. What's up with all the natural (as in inevitable qualities of characters, not, you know, trees) stuff? Is the book really saying that goblins are all naturally violent gangsters?
  2. The fairies all seem super concerned about a racial warbetween them and humans—why is the goblin/dwarf war treated like it's no big deal?
  3. Is it possible to tell where the book stands on species versus race? Is there a difference here?
  4. Holly is consistently described as having "nut-brown skin"(3.2), so why do you think half the images of her (including those in the Artemis Fowl graphic novels) give her pale, white skin?

Chew on This

The really exaggerated conflicts between goblins and dwarfs are meant to point out some uncomfortable truths about minority gang violence where the (non-minority) LEP elves look the other way. 

Not having magical powers as a fairy doesn't just make you unable to do certain things, it basically makes you whatever the fairy equivalent of "inhuman" is. 

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