Artemis Fowl

Artemis Fowl Metaphors and Similes

Angeline's Scent (Simile)

"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" (22).

In this simile, Angeline Fowl's scent is compared to "petals in water." This simile gives us a sensory indication of what Angelique smells like—flower "petals" have a sweet scent, while "water" is associated with cleanliness. It also powerfully conveys how Artemis feels about his mother—she is not completely there with him and instead has been afflicted with madness ever since Artemis Senior has gone missing. As a result, Artemis does not truly have a mother; her presence in his life is ephemeral and uncertain. Often, she does not recognize him and believes that he is other people. In the same way that one has to move carefully around petals through water so that they do not disperse or sink, Artemis has to move carefully around his mother, for fear of upsetting her and causing her to panic. In other words, Angeline is as delicate as petals floating on the surface of water might be. She might smell nice when Artemis embraces her, but that does not change the fact that "her arms [are] cold and weak."

Holly's body (simile)

"Holly's entire body felt like a heartbeat. Gasoline fumes were addling her brain. What could she do? What was the right decision to make?" (53).

This simile comes right in the midst of Holly's dangerous encounter with the troll. It serves to describe Holly's panic in this situation; her fight-or-flight response is in full effect, causing her heart to beat so fast she can feel it through her entire body. This simile also contains a vivid image of Holly's precarious situation. By herself, with her magic running low, and without backup, Holly is as vulnerable as an exposed heart. Her life is quite literally at risk.

Butler as a Predator (Metaphor)

"Butler smiled. A shark that's spotted a bare behind" (126).

This is a slightly unorthodox metaphor simply because it is separated into two sentences. In these lines, Colfer compares Butler's smile at the moment when he is facing the first wave of LEP Retrieval 1 officers outside Fowl Manor to that of a shark that has just spotted its prey. This metaphor is effective because it describes both Butler's appearance and behavior. We sense Butler's smile to be wide and threatening, like the open mouth of a shark that is swimming towards its prey. The metaphor also demonstrates that in this scene, Butler is playing the role of predator. The LEP doesn't know it yet, but Butler is about to overpower them and see through their shields thanks to Artemis's technology—a feat which a human has never been able to do before. Like the shark with his powerful teeth and jaw, Butler has tools at his disposal that completely overwhelm the LEP team. At the end of their fight, he notes how shocking this encounter must have been for the fairies: "It must be quite traumatic, thought Butler dispassionately, to lose an advantage that you've held for centuries" (133).

The Goblin's Movement (Simile)

"Wart-face didn't look so good. Smoke was leaking from every orifice in his head. Flameproof goblins may be, but the errant fireball had given his tubes a good scouring. He swayed like a strand of seaweed, then collapsed facedown on the concrete floor" (160).

At the beginning of Chapter 7, we are introduced to Mulch Diggums, a kleptomaniac dwarf who is in the midst of a fight with a group of goblins that are sharing his jail cell. Mulch does not pick the fight with the goblins, but dwarves and goblins have a long, tense history which here explodes into an altercation. Mulch does not attack first, but when he ultimately does, he takes out the head goblin by unhinging his jaw and swallowing the goblin's head. The simile that follows—"he swayed like a strand of seaweed"—describes how the goblin's body moves before he collapses to the floor. It is an effective simile because it conjures the image of a thin strand of seaweed which is powerless to the forces of water or air. The goblin is no longer in control of his body and instead his body is obeying the laws of physics.

Holly's Bravery (Simile)

"'Laugh this off,' she said, and butted the troll with the only weapon available to her. Her helmeted head.

Valiant undoubtedly, but about as effective as trying to cut down a tree with a feather" (222).

This simile appears in the midst of the novel's climax, when it appears as if all is lost: Butler, Juliet, and Holly are facing down an extremely dangerous troll who has the upper hand on them. Butler has already been wounded so severely he is sure that he is going to die. He probably would have died, in fact, had Holly not saved him with her magical powers. In this moment, Holly is acting incredibly bravely and is using her last resort in detaining the troll. She tries to head-butt it, which is ultimately ineffective—as ineffective as "trying to cut down a tree with a feather." We can easily imagine how impossible it would be to cut down a tree with a feather—the thought itself is ridiculous. Therefore, this simile powerfully evokes the danger that Holly is in and how ineffective her last resort is in detaining this predator. Ultimately, the head-butt earns her time before Butler can get to his feet, and she is saved by the healed Butler.