Childhood's End | Study Guide

Arthur C. Clarke

Download a PDF to print or study offline.

Study Guide
Cite This Study Guide

How to Cite This Study Guide

quotation mark graphic


Course Hero. "Childhood's End Study Guide." Course Hero. 20 Dec. 2019. Web. 8 Aug. 2022. <>.

In text

(Course Hero)



Course Hero. (2019, December 20). Childhood's End Study Guide. In Course Hero. Retrieved August 8, 2022, from

In text

(Course Hero, 2019)



Course Hero. "Childhood's End Study Guide." December 20, 2019. Accessed August 8, 2022.


Course Hero, "Childhood's End Study Guide," December 20, 2019, accessed August 8, 2022,

Childhood's End | Chapter 3 | Summary



Shortly after his meetings with Karellen and the Freedom League, Stormgren goes missing. In his absence, Van Ryberg takes over as acting secretary-general and protests against the Overlords stop because, without Stormgren, no one is sure how to effectively advance their cause. Van Ryberg is also unable to communicate with Karellen, who does not work with Van Ryberg as he had Stormgren.

Meanwhile, Stormgren wakes up in an underground cell and learns he is being held captive by a resistance group led by the Welshman. They first offer Stormgren freedom in exchange for information about the Overlords, but then instead the Welshman asks him to take an observational tool to one of his meetings with Karellen. Stormgren refuses, and at that point Karellen saves him, revealing that the Overlords knew where Stormgren was the entire time but wanted the resistance movement to know they were being watched. Stormgren considers helping the resistance after learning this.


While the previous chapter portrayed the Overlords as largely restrained and nonintrusive, this chapter marks a change in their relationship with humanity. Stormgren had been supportive of the Overlords because of the good he felt they had done for humankind, but when he learns that they were aware he was taken hostage and did nothing to save him, he wonders if they see humankind as anything more than just pawns. This is supported by the decision to do away with the role of liaison between the Overlords and humanity, and Karellen's total lack of communication in the absence of Stormgren. The Overlords now do not have to communicate their plans to the people of Earth, and they do not have to take into account the feelings or desires of humanity. Stormgren was unaware that the Overlords could watch and see anything they wanted, and their awareness of the resistance movement indicates that nothing goes on without their consent. Rather than being peaceful and distant, the Overlords are suddenly omnipresent and all-knowing, ready to act if humankind steps out of line.

Cite This Study Guide

information icon Have study documents to share about Childhood's End? Upload them to earn free Course Hero access!