The Atlantis Gene
S. A. Beck
Contributed by Greta Venegas
Symbols
Symbols are objects or figures that artists use to represent an idea.
Olive Branch

During Hindman’s argument with Kim on Christianity and Islam, the latter becomes infuriated, throwsdown her book, and stomps to the back of the RV, slamming the door of The Composer’s room behind her. Kim is angry even though it was a slight misunderstanding, and Hindman attempts to build bridges to no avail. The narrator says she was trying to do the “Christian” thing, to extend the olive branch — and Kim was setting the branch on fire (Hindman, 2019, p. 198). The olive branch, in this context, was used by the narrator to signify reconciliation after their fallout following the argument.

Atlantis Gene

The gene possessed by Atlanteans is a symbol of the uniqueness seen among Atlanteans. Unlike the rest of the population, they possess supernatural strength among other powers. Jaxon can make plants grow simply by touching them. Like other Atlanteans, such as Orion, Jaxon is also physically stronger when compared to the average person: “Orion could run faster than a gazelle and was stronger than a bear…” (Beck 38). 

The darkness that the night provides represents the freedom that Jaxon longed for in her life. She feels grounded at the Grants’ house, and wishes that they had a country home where she could walk around: “Too bad they didn’t have a country home. That would be even better” (Beck 60).

The Atlantis gene is also a symbol of the world’s ancestry. Jim Running Horse describes the Atlanteans as “old ancestors” who possessed different superpowers: “They weren’t the first people, but they are among the first, and their blood runs in many people’s veins…” (Beck 72).

Darkness

Darkness is used in the novel to symbolize danger. When Grunt and Otto went outside, leaving Dr. Smith and Dr. Yamazaki to concentrate on the research, they hear a distant mournful howl. Grunt confirms that a coyote had made the sound. Although Grunt reassures Otto that he had his nine millimeter, it was clear that danger lurked in the darkness: “The only sound was the chirping of cicadas and a distant, mournful howl…” (Beck 106).

Orion

Orion’s character symbolizes the potential of the Atlanteans Army that General Meade was hoping to create by assembling more Atlanteans. He can outsmart most of the soldiers he is training single-handedly. General Meade also states that he might have to explain to his superiors why most soldiers under him made frequent visits to the hospital: “Orion got carried away sometimes, and one of the general’s latest headaches was explaining to the Pentagon why soldiers under his command kept going to the hospital…” (Beck 39).

Orion is also a symbol of hope for humanity in their fight against the aliens. General Corbin agrees with General Meade’s plans to use the Atlanteans in their plans to defeat the aliens: “First thing we have to do is accelerate the training of this Orion fellow…” (Beck 113).

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