A presentation by Ian Everbach, Kyle Floyd, Kara McGee, and Caitlin Vanderwolf General Information Year of Publication: 1992 Genre: Dystopian Science Fiction Mood: Dystopian, transition from dismal to hopeful, redemptive, accepting Main Characters Protagonists Antagonists Dr. Theodore (Theo) Faron: History professor at Oxford [divorced from Helena, in love with Julian, cousin to Xan, friend of Jasper] Jasper: Theo’s aged tutor [Married to Edith] Xan Lyppiatt: Warden of England, Theo’s cousin Grenadiers: The Warden’s secret service Mass Infertility The Five Fishes: Julian: [Married to Rolf, child by Luke, Rolf: Turns traitor when in love with Theo] he discovers his wife’s Rolf: aggressive and hostile husband infidelity Miriam: former midwife [Has a brother] Luke: lapsed priest Gascoigne: experienced bomber Key Character Traits Theo: rational, cynical, defeated, determined, logical, proactive, knowledgeable Julian: unfaithful yet also faithful, giving, sympathetic, loving, naïve Xan: Machiavellian, cold, self-absorbed, powerful, power-hungry, negligent, intelligent, insecure Luke: religious, naïve, steadfast, brave, martyr Miriam: motherly, strong, committed, responsible, incorruptible Rolf: stupid, arrogant, aggressive, possessive, powerhungry, desperate, small-minded Important Scenes Plot-Driving Meeting with the Counsel Meeting in the church Attack by the “Painted Faces” Ending cabin scene Seeing Julian in church 1st time Robbing elderly couple’s home Jasper’s house (multiple scenes encompassing) Theme-Advancing Birth Visiting the Quietus Expositional/Character Development Running over daughter with car Stroller scene: crazy cat/doll ladies Major Conflicts Infertility Power vacuum Lack of democracy Atrocities of government Quietus Penal colony Porn shops/involuntary fertility testing Deportation of Sojourners Dehumanization Structure Setting: Physical setting: London, areas of Great Britain (Meta-setting: The conflict is global) Time period: January 1, 2021 — October 15, 2021 Structure: Mixed objective description and diary entries Effect: Gives a broader perspective, develops Theo’s character, draws reader into the story Point-of-View: Switches between first person and limited third Characteristics of the 1st-person narrator: Theo’s reliability is enhanced by his good memory, intellect, disinclination to distort fact (from being a historian), and lack of censorship (as this is his own diary). Characteristics of the 3rd-person narrator: The narration is presented objectively, removed from the action Key Quotations about Religion “The kneeling women, rich and poor, young and old, fixing their eyes on the Virgin’s face with an intensity of longing almost too painful to witness” (138). “So I prayed that God would show me what I ought to do…and He sent you. I always find, don’t you, that when you’re in real trouble…just ask, He does answer” (79). “Or had Rolf, in that single and complete rejection of his childhood religion retained an unacknowledged vestige of superstition? Did he, with part of his mind see Luke as the miracle-worker who could turn dry crumbs into flesh… whose very presence among them could propitiate the dangerous gods of the forest” (175). “It was like trying to take hold of a broken marionette” [of Luke] (185). More Quotations “The four billion life forms which have existed on this planet, three billion, nine hundred and sixty million are now extinct… It really does seem unreasonable to suppose that Homo Sapiens should be exempt. Our species will have been one of the shortest lived of all, a mere blink, you may say, in the eye of time” (13-14). “History, which interprets the past to understand the present and confront the future, is the least rewarding discipline for a dying species (11). “The Attic gravestone of the young mother from the fourth century B.C., the servant holding the swaddled baby, the tombstone of a little girl with doves, grief speaking across nearly three thousand years” (82). “It would take a force more powerful that sexual love to prise open the portcullis which defends the crenellated heart and mind (16). Themes of Interest The arrogance of youth Death and decay Familial and romantic love The role of religion/people’s response to religion in hopeless situations The human spirit Nature’s indifference The growth and use of power The roles of women/gender roles Motherhood and maternity Style Syntax Well-formed, poetic, descriptive phrases Long and short sentences; Form mirrors content Well-paced storytelling and sentences Certain aspects underdeveloped Characters thrown away when no longer important General plot is lacking slightly; a few plot holes Diction Complex, but accessible Narrator is reliable because he is writing a diary, meaning he would not skimp on embarrassing/unattractive details because no one else will read Interpretation Symbols Water: life and purity yet also ominousness and death Religion Title taken from scripture References to La Pieta “Five Fish” using the fish as an early Christian symbol Luke as a priest Water as purity and renewal Virgin Mary, birth of the Savior Deer as a symbol of Christ Movie Adaptation Directed by Alfonso Cuaron Praised for its screen-writing references Known for its tracking-shot action sequences Children of Men Theme Statement When a rational Oxford history professor comes into conflict with a futuristic authoritarian regime in a situation which the powerful regime has preyed upon panic from an overwhelming, uncontrollable disaster, the results may elevate the ability of hope, faith, and love to bring people together to fight for a cause despite imminent destruction and preserve the essence of what it means to be human.