The Children of Men

by

P. D. James

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Luke Character Analysis

One of the members of The Five Fishes, a priest, and secretly the father of Julian’s unborn child. Pious and even-tempered, Luke yearns for a version of the world that still values compassion, justice, and love. While on the run, he and Julian pray together daily, performing holy sacraments at a makeshift altar. Theo suspects that Rolf allowed Luke into the group despite his lack of “practical skills” due to superstition, and the underlying belief that Luke could function as a “bringer of luck” and a “possessor of mystic powers and ancient charms.” Luke is killed during an encounter with a group of feral Omegas, sacrificing himself to save Julian (and her baby). Julian, mourning his death, reveals to the group that Luke was the true father of her child. Luke’s status as the father of the child—the first born on Earth in 25 years—implies a religious, or at least moral, foundation to the miracle of the baby’s existence, though the book doesn’t push much past that faint suggestion.
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Luke Character Timeline in The Children of Men

The timeline below shows where the character Luke appears in The Children of Men. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 6
History, Mythology, and Memory Theme Icon
Fatalism and Despair vs. Action and Hope Theme Icon
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...Theo is Xan’s cousin and a former Council member, and that two members of her group—Luke, a priest, and Rolf, her husband and the group’s leader—suggested she approach Theo and ask... (full context)
Chapter 8
Fatalism and Despair vs. Action and Hope Theme Icon
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...explains that the group uses first names only. He introduces himself, as well as Miriam, Luke, and Gascoigne. He explains that Miriam is an ex-midwife and Luke is a priest, but... (full context)
Fatalism and Despair vs. Action and Hope Theme Icon
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...of the group. Gascoigne introduces himself next—he is young and stout, with “a child’s face.” Luke smiles at Theo—he seems to be in his forties, has a “pale, sensitive face,” and... (full context)
History, Mythology, and Memory Theme Icon
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...the group if they’re a religious one, which Rolf vehemently denies. Miriam explains that while Luke and Julian are Christians, their group only meets in churches because “no one asks any... (full context)
Fatalism and Despair vs. Action and Hope Theme Icon
Apocalypse: Revelation, Renewal, and Redemption Theme Icon
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...private army. Rolf goes on, adding that the Warden should also end the semen-testing program. Luke expresses his desire for the end of “compulsory” gynecological examinations as well as the Quietus.... (full context)
Fatalism and Despair vs. Action and Hope Theme Icon
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...on a “dying planet” only wants “security and comfort,” and the Warden provides those things. Luke thinks the government should, in addition, offer “compassion, justice, [and] love.” Theo begins to find... (full context)
Chapter 20
History, Mythology, and Memory Theme Icon
...his father is standing at the end of his bed. This time, though, it is Luke pointing at him, and Theo is not in bed but in a car. Rolf pounds... (full context)
Chapter 21
Fatalism and Despair vs. Action and Hope Theme Icon
Apocalypse: Revelation, Renewal, and Redemption Theme Icon
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...ridiculous, and the child belongs not to any one or two people but to mankind. Luke counters that the child “belongs to God.” (full context)
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...the group that their plan is “futile”—Gascoigne will soon talk, and everything will be ruined. Luke tells Theo that the rest of them never told Gascoigne about the pregnancy “for his... (full context)
Chapter 23
Power and Ambition Theme Icon
...his sperm to get what they “need” from him and then quickly dispose of him. Luke, Miriam, and Julian return to the car, and Theo allows Rolf to take the wheel. (full context)
Chapter 25
History, Mythology, and Memory Theme Icon
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...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... (full context)
History, Mythology, and Memory Theme Icon
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Theo is “uneasy” about Luke and Julian having left the group—he feels everyone needs to stay together. He goes off... (full context)
Chapter 27
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...one of the Omegas catches up to them as they do and grabs Julian’s clothes. Luke emerges from the crowd, screaming “Take me,” and the Omegas turn on him. The Omegas... (full context)
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...other side of the wall, the four remaining Fishes watch while the Omegas, done with Luke, light the Fishes’ car on fire—sending all of their gathered supplies up in smoke. (full context)
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While the Omegas are distracted with the car, Theo and Rolf go for Luke’s body, which has been battered and torn beyond recognition. They bring it back to the... (full context)
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Rolf returns to the group, and tells them that they must bury Luke at first light. The group hunkers down beneath another fallen tree, but Theo cannot sleep.... (full context)
Chapter 28
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...is no real shelter, as the woods are not very large. Miriam and Theo bury Luke at the edge of the little forest, and Julian places his prayer shawl into the... (full context)
History, Mythology, and Memory Theme Icon
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Julian asks Theo to say the Burial Service, and hands him Luke’s Bible. Theo speaks an abbreviated version of the service, reading from a passage which describes... (full context)
Chapter 31
Fatalism and Despair vs. Action and Hope Theme Icon
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...finds his way back to Miriam and Julian when he recognizes the blood-spattered road where Luke was killed. He offers them the meager supplies he was able to steal from the... (full context)
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Theo asks Miriam and Julian if either of them continue to think of Luke. Julian responds that there will be a time to mourn. Theo suggests they head for... (full context)