The Children of Men


P. D. James

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The Children of Men: Chapter 19 Summary & Analysis

In his diary, Theo describes having seen Julian at the market earlier that morning. As she exited, he followed her, and asked to speak to her; she suggested they talk back in the market, a noisier and “safer” place. Once back inside, Theo told Julian about the SSP’s visit, and implored her to either get the group to stop, or to distance herself from them. Julian told Theo to leave, explaining that it would be best if the two of them didn’t see each other any more. Theo told Julian to send for him in St. John Street if she ever needed him, and left the market.
Theo, having at last found Julian again, attempts to warn her about the hunt for the Fishes. But Julian’s allegiance to her group and their ideals keeps her from seeing the truth and care behind his words. Theo, as a last-ditch attempt to somehow ensure Julian’s safety, makes a move toward responsibility for her—a move whose resulting events he can’t yet foresee.
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Now, Theo laments never having known “what it is to love,” yet says that “fifty is not an age to invite the turbulence of love.” Theo plans to “escape,” taking a trip around the world to see the “great” things that still remain and to attempt to put the events of the last several months out of his head. He feels regretful that if Julian comes to call on him, “she will find [his] house empty.”
Theo has begun to have feelings for Julian, but, having never behaved in a way which accepts responsibility for another person’s safety or happiness, retreats into self-obsession and escapism in the face of his fears. He does not want to let Julian down, but he is so overwhelmed that he feels he has to leave.
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