The Children of Men

by

P. D. James

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Jasper Palmer-Smith Character Analysis

One of Theo’s old history teachers who selected Theo as his favorite student during Theo’s time as an Oxford undergraduate. Fearing a “total breakdown of order” in the time directly after Year Omega, Jasper moved to the country and has become “obsessive” about safeguarding his property and possessions. He calls upon Theo to visit him early in the novel, and Theo is struck by how rapidly Jasper is aging. At this visit, Jasper tells Theo that he is considering moving back to Oxford, and wants to join Theo in Theo’s oversized house. His wife Hilda, he mentions casually, is considering taking part in a Quietus, or a mass ritual suicide by drowning. Theo doesn’t make Jasper “any promises” as to the two of them moving in together, feeling that while he owes a lot to Jasper, he does not owe him the use of his home. After Hilda’s death, Theo doesn’t hear much from Jasper. When Theo joins The Five Fishes and their group is in need of shelter and supplies, Theo suggests visiting Jasper’s house. When they arrive, they find that Jasper has committed suicide in solitude.
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Jasper Palmer-Smith Character Timeline in The Children of Men

The timeline below shows where the character Jasper Palmer-Smith appears in The Children of Men. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 7
History, Mythology, and Memory Theme Icon
Fatalism and Despair vs. Action and Hope Theme Icon
Power and Ambition Theme Icon
Theo receives a call from Jasper Palmer-Smith, his former history teacher, who’d selected Theo as his “favorite” student in all of... (full context)
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
When Theo arrives at Jasper’s, he is shocked to find that Jasper looks as if he as aged “ten years... (full context)
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
Theo, put off by the idea of Jasper coming to live with him, suggests Jasper and Hilda apply to receive a Sojourner or... (full context)
Chapter 9
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
...Hilda Palmer-Smith. Though it’s unclear to Theo whether she’s been forced into the Quietus, by Jasper or by someone else, or whether she’s just changed her mind at the last minute,... (full context)
Chapter 22
Power and Ambition Theme Icon
...if possible. The SSP will soon be looking for Theo’s car. Theo tells Rolf that Jasper’s house is nearby. There, they might be able to switch cars and will certainly find... (full context)
History, Mythology, and Memory Theme Icon
Fatalism and Despair vs. Action and Hope Theme Icon
At Jasper’s house, Theo finds that the gate is open. He and Miriam enter the house together,... (full context)
History, Mythology, and Memory Theme Icon
Fatalism and Despair vs. Action and Hope Theme Icon
Power and Ambition Theme Icon
While Theo takes supplies from Jasper’s larder, he feels a twinge of sadness over Jasper’s death. He meets Miriam upstairs—she has... (full context)
Chapter 30
Fatalism and Despair vs. Action and Hope Theme Icon
Power and Ambition Theme Icon
...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... (full context)
Chapter 33
Fatalism and Despair vs. Action and Hope Theme Icon
Apocalypse: Revelation, Renewal, and Redemption Theme Icon
Power and Ambition Theme Icon
Theo places Jasper’s last remaining bullet into the revolver and exits the shed. Xan is standing outside, alone.... (full context)