Childhood's End

by: Arthur C. Clarke

Jan Rodricks

Characters Jan Rodricks

Jan Rodricks represents what is lost in the great "evolutionary" changes that are wrought when the children of humanity join the Overmind. When humanity is still enjoying its utopia under the auspices of the Overlords, Jan becomes dissatisfied with life. He wants to explore the stars, and to visit planets as the Overlords do. Jan represents humanity's inability to ever be satisfied, to ever be truly content, or have its curiosity sated. It is admirable that Jan rejects the blandness and boredom of utopia in favor of taking risks (i.e., sneaking onto the Overlords' ship). It seems likely that there would be many more men and women like Jan in a world such as the Overlords'. Satisfaction in life, no matter how good, has never been one of humanity's strong suits. Jan is a symbol of that truth, and it is fitting that he is the last witness to the destruction and transfiguration of mankind.