The Atlantis Gene
S. A. Beck
Contributed by Greta Venegas
Chapter 4
Summary

Jaxon slumped down the school’s hall to her locker in preparation for another day of summer school. Although most of the students passing down the hall ignored her, some of them gave her snide looks. She notices that her locker handle had been smeared by something slick and greasy; students who are standing in the hallway laugh at her. Courtney, a girl in her class who constantly bullies her and supplies other students with cocaine, begins mocking Jaxon. Although tempted to beating them all up, she manages to maintain her composure. She opens up Courtney’s locker, rummages through her things and obtains a scarf, which she uses to clean her hands. Courtney tries to stop Jaxon by hitting her, but she deflects her blows using martial art movements that she had previously learned from school. 

While in class, the teacher requests the students to take turns reading the Amendments in the Bill of Rights. Although Jaxon was hoping that the teacher would spare her from the task, she is requested to read the last Amendment. She struggles because of her dyslexia, and the students start laughing at her. That night, as Jaxon was in her room, she felt restless, lonely, and useless. Courtney told Jaxon that she was useless and the words continued to haunt her. She remembers what her yoga instructor, Juliette, had said about accepting herself — to which she reacts by jumping out of her room window and over the fence, and fully determined to make herself useful by going out to fight criminals.

Analysis

The theme of bullying and harassment is seen throughout this chapter, specifically when Jaxon is bullied by Courtney and her friends in the hallway and mocked by other students for her inability to read properly despite her dyslexia: “‘Oh my God, she’s like totally useless,’ Courtney whispered loud enough for everyone to hear” (Beck 31). Jaxon’s decision to not hide from the world shows her need to transform from being a victim of school bullying to being someone who uses her superpowers to help others. Although the other students had fun picking on Jaxon, she was hurt by their words and began viewing herself as being useless: “Something Courtney had said kept coming back to haunt her, cutting into her heart like a razor blade” (Beck 31).The theme of drug abuse in schools is also brought out through Courtney’s own cocaine use, as well as the supplying to others.

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