Please wait while we process your payment
If you don't see it, please check your spam folder. Sometimes it can end up there.
Don’t have an account?
Create Your Account
Sign up for your FREE 7-day trial
Already have an account? Log in
Choose Your Plan
$4.99/month + tax
$24.99/year + tax
Save over 50% with a SparkNotes PLUS Annual Plan!
for a group?
Get Annual Plans at a discount when you buy 2 or more!
$18.74 /subscription + tax
Subtotal $37.48 + tax
on 2-49 accounts
on 50-99 accounts
Want 100 or more?
for a customized plan.
You'll be billed after your free trial ends.
7-Day Free Trial
Renews September 28, 2023
September 21, 2023
Discounts (applied to next billing)
This is not a valid promo code.
(one code per order)
Annual Plan - Group Discount
SparkNotes Plus subscription is $4.99/month or $24.99/year as selected above. The free trial period is the first 7 days of your subscription. TO CANCEL YOUR SUBSCRIPTION AND AVOID BEING CHARGED, YOU MUST CANCEL BEFORE THE END OF THE FREE TRIAL PERIOD. You may cancel your subscription on your Subscription and Billing page or contact Customer Support at firstname.lastname@example.org. Your subscription will continue automatically once the free trial period is over. Free trial is available to new customers only.
For the next 7 days, you'll have access to awesome PLUS stuff like AP English test prep, No Fear Shakespeare translations and audio, a note-taking tool, personalized dashboard, & much more!
You’ve successfully purchased a group discount. Your group members can use the joining link below to redeem their group membership. You'll also receive an email with the link.
Members will be prompted to log in or create an account to redeem their group membership.
Thanks for creating a SparkNotes account! Continue to start your free trial.
Your PLUS subscription has expired
*See discount terms and conditions.
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
Ace your assignments with our guide to Childhood's End!