Childhood's End | Study Guide

Arthur C. Clarke

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Childhood's End | Chapter 24 | Summary

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Summary

Jan has been living among the Overlords, but Rashaverak tells Jan that it is time for them to leave when the children begin rotating the moon with their powers. Rather than go with them, Jan decides to stay on Earth. Rashaverak asks that Jan use their equipment to communicate what he sees as the children join the Overmind. Jan narrates the end of Earth for Karellen and the Overlords. The Overlords then leave the solar system, and Karellen salutes the Sun as a way to salute the former people of Earth.

Analysis

When Karellen gives Jan the choice to remain on Earth, the reader knows that the Overlords have extreme powers and are likely aware that Jan would not go with them. Thus, Jan staying behind to observe the end of Earth is another example of the Overlords using humanity while presenting themselves as kind and accommodating. Although Karellen expresses something like sadness when he salutes Earth, he was ultimately central to the fate that befell humanity.

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