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Childhood's End | Study Guide

Arthur C. Clarke

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Childhood's End | Chapter 18 | Summary



Jeffrey begins to have dreams about a strange planet, with mountains in blue flame and a blue sun. The Overlords discuss these dreams and seem to know what planet it could be. Karellen tells Rashaverak not to question Jeffrey about it because they cannot interfere. The dreams continue, and the Overlords observe his dreams and note that he is moving away from Earth and toward the center of the universe, to a planet the Overlords have struggled to explore and other planets that they have not been able to reach. Rashaverak meets with George and Jean, and they reveal that they do not believe Jeffrey and his sister Jennifer are still human.


After hearing the voice during the tsunami, Jeffrey starts to have more and more bizarre experiences. This chapter reveals that his little sister Jennifer has shown psychic abilities in the past. It is not immediately clear what is causing these changes; again, Clarke is blurring the lines between the paranormal and science by exploring what humanity consider unexplainable. George and Jean fear the unknown forces affecting their children, but the Overlords have been watching the family, and the phenomena are clearly known to them. This underscores the Overlords' position as nearly all-knowing, all-controlling beings. Although initially resistant to the idea of conferring with George and Jean, the Overlords eventually decide that they have to because of how quickly Jeffrey and Jennifer are changing. When they do, they tell George and Jean that what is happening to their children is taking them away from humanity. This means the children are evolving into something beyond human.

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