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Childhood's End

Key Facts

Main ideas Key Facts

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