Childhood's End

by: Arthur C. Clarke

Suggested Essay Topics

Analyze the character of Karellen. How does he behave toward mankind? Is he sympathetic, or patronizing?

In Childhood's End, Clarke uses two perspectives. One is very wide, where the narrator describes broad events and trends throughout the world. The other is very close, where he describes the behavior of certain characters. Find an example of a broad trend in one of these wide-perspective chapters, and then find a character to does something that represents that trend. (Example: in one chapter, the narrator discusses how the artistic achievements of mankind begin to falter in utopian society. George's joining the New Athens community is an attempt to fight this decline).

Explain, as much as possible, the nature of the Overmind. What is it? What are its motives? How has it behaved in the past? What are its powers, and its limitations?

Karellen tells Stormgren, "All political problems can be solved with the correct use of force." Stormgren counters by pointing out that this sounds like "Might makes right." Is this a reasonable objection? How does Karellen put his theory into practice, and are there any evident flaws when he does so? Give examples.

Childhood's End seems to claim that any given race has one of two choices: evolutionary stagnation, like the Overlords, or joining the Overmind. Does the novel suggest there are any other alternatives?