The Children of Men

by

P. D. James

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The Children of Men: Chapter 25 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
In the morning, Theo is the last to wake. He has, to his surprise, slept soundly on the ground. Tea is brewing, and Julian and Luke are off in the woods praying. Rolf asks Theo what he believes in. Theo tells him he believes nothing. Rolf admits to having had a religious upbringing, but says he has since rejected religion and believes that the Warden of England (Xan) is the only devil.
This passage highlights the ways in which modern religion—Christianity especially—has really devolved into more of a series of superstitions. Rolf sees the “devil” as a real entity, but one which the Bible or Christian tradition never could have predicted. At the same time, note that Rolf sees the Warden of England as the devil, while also wanting to become the ruler of England himself.
Themes
History, Mythology, and Memory Theme Icon
Power and Ambition Theme Icon
Theo is “uneasy” about Luke and Julian having left the group—he feels everyone needs to stay together. He goes off to find them, but they are barely fifty yards from the car, praying at a makeshift altar. Theo returns to the car, and tells Rolf that Luke and Julian appear to be nearly done. Theo wonders about the relationship between Rolf and Luke. He feels that Rolf is “indulging” Julian by allowing her a “personal chaplain” even though Luke has no practical skills to offer the Fishes. However, Theo thinks, it’s possible that Rolf has retained a “vestige of superstition” from his childhood, and maybe believes that Luke is a “bringer of luck” or even a “miracle-worker.”
Opposite to how Rolf has inverted Christianity into his own kind of personal mythology, Luke and Julian continue in the ritualistic aspect of the faith. Theo is disdainful of Luke and Julian, but wonders whether Luke—who seemingly has no other useful skills—is actually the most important member of the Fishes. Just as evil has been mythologized, so too has goodness—Luke represents that “miracul[ous]” goodness and the power of faith.
Themes
History, Mythology, and Memory Theme Icon
Fatalism and Despair vs. Action and Hope Theme Icon
Apocalypse: Revelation, Renewal, and Redemption Theme Icon
Power and Ambition Theme Icon