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
Take a Study Break
Every Shakespeare Play Summed Up in a Quote from The Office
Every Marvel Movie Summed Up in a Single Sentence
Macbeth As Told in a Series of Texts
QUIZ: Is This a Great Gatsby Quote or a Lorde Lyric?
QUIZ: Which Coming-of-Age Trope Will You Experience This Summer?
QUIZ: Are You a Hero, a Villain, or an Anti-Hero?
Pick 10 Books and We'll Guess Whether You're an Introvert or an Extrovert