The Children of Men

by

P. D. James

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The Children of Men: Chapter 30 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Theo sets off for the nearest village as soon as it is dark. It takes him two hours to get to a little town, where he cases several houses for one with a car. He spots an elderly couple watching television through a window, and rings their doorbell. The man and woman answer the door together, and Theo tells them that he is a member of the Local Council. They let him in, and Theo pulls Jasper’s gun on them. He promises not to harm them as long as they do what he says. He tells them that he needs help, and asks for them to point him to food, drink, and their car.
Theo, not just motivated but actually desperate to continue on his new path with the group, begins to commit what he sees as a necessary evil. His own desire ranks before the well-being of this random couple he has chosen to burglarize, symbolizing the ways in which even good intentions can easily dissolve into a destructive abuse of power.
Themes
Fatalism and Despair vs. Action and Hope Theme Icon
Power and Ambition Theme Icon
The couple gathers supplies for Theo, who then forces them to lie down on their bed. He ties them up, but when they beg for water and use of the bathroom, Theo gives them some. They tell him that their housekeeper will arrive early in the morning, and Theo tells them that he won’t gag them, but will leave the television on loud so that even if they scream, no one will hear. Theo leaves the couple tied up, and goes downstairs to finish taking what he can.
Theo’s guilt about tying up this elderly couple is in direct competition with his need to secure Julian and her child’s safety. Theo’s attempts to make the couple comfortable even as he brutalizes and burglarizes them demonstrate the intertwined nature of power and responsibility, which Theo clumsily wields.
Themes
Fatalism and Despair vs. Action and Hope Theme Icon
Power and Ambition Theme Icon
Theo takes the couple’s car from their garage, and heads back for Miriam and Julian. He wonders fretfully where the three of them should go, and how they might be able to outrun Xan and his forces. Theo fantasizes about finding a deserted cottage near a spring, where he, Julian, and Miriam can hide out for as long as they need. He convinces himself that soon children will be born elsewhere in the world, and that Xan will have no need to take Julian’s child away.
Theo’s fantasies of idyllic comfort and safety from the clutches of the government, as well as the renewal and spread of new life on earth, are rendered as both hopelessly idealistic and tantalizingly possibly for the first time in twenty-five years.
Themes
History, Mythology, and Memory Theme Icon
Fatalism and Despair vs. Action and Hope Theme Icon
Apocalypse: Revelation, Renewal, and Redemption Theme Icon
Globalism vs. Isolationism  Theme Icon
Power and Ambition Theme Icon