The Children of Men

by

P. D. James

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Helena Faron Character Analysis

Theo’s ex-wife, who fell into a deep despair following the accidental death—at Theo’s hands—of their fifteen-month-old daughter Natalie. She has very recently left Theo for a man named Rupert. She and Rupert dote upon their cat Mathilda and the kittens she is still able to breed, going so far as to hold birthing parties and christenings for them. Helena’s way of channeling her desire for children into other things—in her case, cats—is representative of the way many people attempt to cope with the disappearance of children in the world portrayed in the novel. Theo describes Helena as having a “carefully nurtured social respectability”—her father was a highly influential man at Oxford, and her and Theo’s marriage was largely one of convenience, born of Theo’s desire for the “prestige” that being her father’s son-in-law conferred.

Helena Faron Quotes in The Children of Men

The The Children of Men quotes below are all either spoken by Helena Faron or refer to Helena Faron. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
History, Mythology, and Memory Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Vintage edition of The Children of Men published in 2006.
Chapter 5 Quotes

[Helena] thought I cared less, and she was right. She thought I cared less because I loved less, and she was right about that too. I was glad to be a father. When Helena told me she was pregnant I felt what I presume are the usual emotions of pride, tenderness, and amazement. I did feel affection for my child, although I would have felt more had she been prettier, more affectionate, more responsive, less inclined to whine. I’m glad that no other eyes will read these words. She has been dead for almost twenty-seven years and I still think of her with complaint.

Related Characters: Theodore “Theo” Faron (speaker), Helena Faron
Related Symbols: Theo’s Diary, Natalie
Page Number: 29
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 31 Quotes

“I killed her.”
Miriam’s voice was firm, loud, almost shouting in [Theo’s] ear. “You didn’t kill her! If she was going to die of shock it would have happened when you first showed her the gun. You don’t know why she died. It was natural causes, it must have been. She was old and she had a weak heart. You told us. It wasn’t your fault, Theo, you didn’t mean it.”
No, he almost groaned, no, I didn’t mean it. I didn’t mean to be a selfish son, an unloving father, a bad husband. When have I ever meant anything? Christ, what harm couldn’t I do if I actually started to mean it!
He said: “The worst is that I enjoyed it. I actually enjoyed it! I enjoyed the excitement, the power, the knowledge that I could do it.”

Related Characters: Theodore “Theo” Faron (speaker), Miriam (speaker), Helena Faron
Related Symbols: Natalie
Page Number: 218
Explanation and Analysis:
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Helena Faron Character Timeline in The Children of Men

The timeline below shows where the character Helena Faron appears in The Children of Men. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 5
History, Mythology, and Memory Theme Icon
Fatalism and Despair vs. Action and Hope Theme Icon
...does remember backing the car out of the driveway on his way to class—his wife Helena, he says, had parked it “clumsily”—and feeling a “gentle bump” beneath the left rear wheel... (full context)
History, Mythology, and Memory Theme Icon
Fatalism and Despair vs. Action and Hope Theme Icon
There was no time for grief, Theo says—he was too overwhelmed by “horror and guilt.” Helena believed that he “cared less, and she was right.” Their marriage fell apart in the... (full context)
History, Mythology, and Memory Theme Icon
Fatalism and Despair vs. Action and Hope Theme Icon
Globalism vs. Isolationism  Theme Icon
Theo and Helena moved out of the home where the accident had occurred, into a house on St.... (full context)
History, Mythology, and Memory Theme Icon
Fatalism and Despair vs. Action and Hope Theme Icon
Globalism vs. Isolationism  Theme Icon
Theo describes his house, which is much too big for just him. Helena, he says, has recently left him after having fallen in love with a man named... (full context)
Chapter 9
History, Mythology, and Memory Theme Icon
...Southwold. He has not been to the town in twenty-seven years, since he went with Helena and Natalie when she was under a year old, and he finds it much emptier... (full context)
Chapter 16
Apocalypse: Revelation, Renewal, and Redemption Theme Icon
Theo, writing in his diary, describes a visit to Helena’s. Mathilda, the cat the two of them once shared, and which now lives with Helena... (full context)
History, Mythology, and Memory Theme Icon
Theo realizes that it has been one year to the day since Helena left him for Rupert, and believes it is an “appropriate” day to make his first... (full context)
History, Mythology, and Memory Theme Icon
Fatalism and Despair vs. Action and Hope Theme Icon
Globalism vs. Isolationism  Theme Icon
Power and Ambition Theme Icon
When Theo arrives at Helena and Rupert’s, the two of them are trying to decide which of two kittens to... (full context)
History, Mythology, and Memory Theme Icon
Fatalism and Despair vs. Action and Hope Theme Icon
Power and Ambition Theme Icon
...material.” The three of them debate the points of the pamphlet for a moment before Helena becomes frustrated with Theo’s apparent sympathies for the group, and implores Rupert to tear the... (full context)
History, Mythology, and Memory Theme Icon
Globalism vs. Isolationism  Theme Icon
Theo says goodbye to Mathilda the cat and leaves, content to know that while Helena is happy, he is no longer the one “responsible” for her happiness. He reflects upon... (full context)
Chapter 20
Fatalism and Despair vs. Action and Hope Theme Icon
Globalism vs. Isolationism  Theme Icon
Theo calls Helena, and asks her whether anything has been happening in Oxford over the summer. She tells... (full context)