full title · Childhood's End
author · Arthur C. Clarke
type of work · Novel
genre · Science fiction
language · American English
time and place written · 1950–1953, America
date of first publication · 1953
publisher · Ballantine Books
narrator · 3rd person omniscient
climax · The climax occurs when the children of the last generation of humanity are assimilated into the Overmind, destroying the Earth in the process.
protagonist(s) · Karellen; Stormgren; George Greggson; Jan Rodricks
antagonist · There is not really any true "protagonists" in Childhood's End, although it can be argued that both the Overlords and the Overmind fulfill a kind of antagonic role.
setting (time) · Late twentieth century; 2050s; 2130s
setting (place) · Earth
point of view · The narrator maintains a fairly straightforward manner of third-person narration.
falling action · The Overlords watch as the Earth is destroyed, then continue on their way to serve the Overmind.
tense · Immediate past; that is, real-time narration
foreshadowing · There is much foreshadowing in Childhood's End. One good example is that since the Overlords resemble a medieval conception of "the Devil," they can be read as foreshadowing the Overlords' role in the ultimate destruction of humanity.
tone · The tone of the novel is fairly neutral.
themes · Technology and power; the limits of knowledge; evolutionary purpose; the problems of utopian society
motifs · Deception; Christian imagery and folklore; collective unconscious; racial memory
symbols · The Overlords; the Overmind; New Athens
Karellan comes from behind the screen to the shock of the main character and explains that their race has been visiting earth for centuries - sent whenever we are in danger of extinction to use their powers to alleviate the issue so are often seen, causing humans to mistakenly associate them with causing the problems - hence devils, but a bum rap.
At the end the children coalesce into a single life form and suck up the resources of the earth to be their energy source, and sail out into the universe as their new playground. The actual ... Read more→