Literature Study Guides2001 A Space OdysseyPart 5 Chapters 35 36 Summary

2001: A Space Odyssey | Study Guide

Arthur C. Clarke

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2001: A Space Odyssey | Part 5, Chapters 35–36 : The Moons of Saturn | Summary



Chapter 35: The Eye of Japetus

Bowman thinks the bright spot of Japetus looks like a giant eye, and as he gets closer the eye even seems to have a pupil—a black dot in the exact center. Discovery finally gets close enough to the moon that it enters orbit above it.

Chapter 36: Big Brother

Bowman transmits a description of the moon, telling Mission Control that the dark part looks like burnt toast and the white part like a sea of milk. As he comes within sight of the black "pupil," he realizes it is a larger version of TMA-1. He exclaims, "This is TMA-1's big brother!"


Of interest in these chapters, besides the discovery of another monolith, is the fact that Bowman's descriptions of the moon are figurative language based on very human images. The white area has the shape of an eye. The surfaces resemble breakfast foods: burnt toast and milk. Bowman uses these similes and metaphors as he imagines things to himself (the eye) and as he attempts to find words to convey what he is seeing to other humans (toast and milk).

Even the monolith, symbol of the mysteries of the universe, is brought within the scope of human understanding through metaphor, as Bowman calls it TMA-1's "big brother."

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