The Atlantis Gene
S. A. Beck
Contributed by Greta Venegas
Themes are described as ideas that dominate a particular piece of literature. In almost all cases, pieces of literature will be centered a theme or a number of them.

The theme of violence is seen throughout the novel. In the third chapter, Otto, Vivian, Dr. Yamazaki, and Yuhle are attacked by American government agents who have followed them through the desert. Otto, a pyromaniac, is fascinated by the grenades handed to him by Vivian and the amount of fire they could produce if he threw it at the government agents’ vehicles: “So much fire...” (Beck 21). Otto throws a grenade at the cars, causing one of the Range Rovers to lose control and slam against a large rock. The theme of violence is also seen through General Meade’s intentions to create an army of Atlanteans whose fighting abilities could be used to protect the country from an alien invasion (Beck 43). 

This theme is also seen through General Meade and General Corbin’s discussion about a possible alien invasion, and the tactics they will use to defeat them. According to General Meade, the best approach would entail deceiving the aliens by pretending to betray the American Army and obtaining as much information from them as possible; they plan to use treachery and guerilla warfare approaches. If the aliens intended to befriend Earth’s inhabitants, General Meade and General Corbin’s plan would only endanger the planet: “We make contact! If the aliens are looking for traitors to help with their invasion. We can pretend to be those traitors. We get them in close and then hit them with all we got!” (Beck 112).

Harassment and Bullying

Jaxon has been bullied and harassed, both at school and in the different foster homes she has been transferred to, before being assigned to the Grants. Courtney, one of her schoolmates, smears her school locker with greasy dirt and attempts to hit her when Jaxon angrily uses Courtney’s scarf to wipe up the mess: “She didn’t really care if no one liked her. She was used to that… It was the constant harassment that got to her…” (Beck 28). Jaxon is laughed at and mocked by her classmates because she is unable to read properly, which makes her feel useless: “You sit around all your life like a blob…when what you really want to do is hit back at all the meanness in the world.” (Beck 31). Jaxon relates to the experience the prostitute was facing because it reminded her of Mr. Spencer, her former foster father; she ended up breaking his wrist to prevent him from touching her (Beck 61).


Jaxon felt helpless because she was being bullied and could not use her supernatural powers to defend herself: “She was some sort of medical miracle, some sort of superwoman, and yet all she did was go to school, get bad grades, and get rejected…” (Beck 31); and “How can you be yourself when being yourself is dangerous?” (Beck 32). Although Otto was helping Dr. Yuhle and the Atlantis Allegiance, he feels helpless because of his addiction to fire. He is likely to succumb to a severe form of addiction because the Atlantis Allegiance is constantly involved in fights with American government agents. He dreams of fire and wakes up feeling sick at himself: “…majestic dreams of fire and burning. He awoke feeling sick, sick at himself and sick at the helpless, terrifying situation he found himself in…” (Beck 44).

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