SHARE

In the year 2021, many current Hillsdale College stu­dents will be 27 or 28 years old. Our labored Hillsdale days will be a distant, happy memory.
We will be well on our way to suc­cessful careers or pos­sibly married and pur­suing the honored role of ded­i­cated fathers and mothers nur­turing the next gen­er­ation of cit­izens. However, in the cap­ti­vating futur­istic novel “Children of Men,” by PD James, we are the last gen­er­ation born of homo sapiens.
She write that “like a lech­erous stud sud­denly stricken with impo­tence, we are humil­iated at the very heart of our faith in our­selves; for all our knowledge, our intel­li­gence, our power, we can no longer do what the animals do without thought.”
In James’ book, has been 26 years since 1995 –– the year marking the last human birth.  We are the Omega.
The thrilling dystopian plot in James’ “Children of Men” imagines human society when pro­cre­ation is impos­sible. No doubt, James’ thirty-year past in the British Civil Service, which includes the Police and the Criminal Law Depart­ments, con­tributes to the unnerving con­clu­sions she imagines when looking into an empty Pandora’s box.
The com­plexity and depth imbued in every char­acter is stunning, espe­cially in the pro­tag­onist Theodore Faron. A 50-year-old Oxford Vic­torian History pro­fessor, Theo describes the world-scale societal decay evident in Great Britain with the “uni­versal neg­a­tivism” that infects mankind.
His cousin, Xan Lyp­piatt, rules as dic­tator under the empty title of Warden of England, where he insti­tuted national porn shops in an attempt to revi­talize interest in sex.
In this haunting world, women proudly parade about with their dolls –– called Six-Monthlies ––  cooing baby talk to the unblinking, glassy eyes of their six-month-old baby. They par­tic­ipate in pseudo-births and, when the dolls are broken, stage reli­gious funeral cer­e­monies.
For Theo, books, wine, music, food, and nature were the sole con­so­la­tions of his life but faded after Julian, a young female student, urged him to inves­tigate the Quietus, the State-sup­ported mass suicide of the elderly.
His expe­rience triggers the second part of the book, “Alpha.” There­after, James reassesses her psycho-analysis when hope emerges in the cli­mactic fight for the freedom of the human race. Julian con­ceiving a child.
Xan was alerted to the pos­si­bility of new human life by a traitor within Julian’s rev­o­lu­tionary band, The Five Fishes. The book con­cludes with Xan pur­suing a very pregnant Julian, her midwife, and Theo.
I first learned of “Children of Men,” from Princeton jurispru­dence Pro­fessor Robert P. George, in a recent interview I did with him for an article I was writing on natural law and mar­riage.
He com­mented that James’ book is a fas­ci­nating por­trayal of human sex­u­ality: “a kind of thought exper­iment played out bril­liantly.”
George acknowl­edged the validity of James’ hypothesis regarding the dis­in­terest in sex in the 2021 culture.
“It cer­tainly rings true, and it might well happen that when children are no longer, people will actually not per­ceive this as cre­ating a sexual utopia where, freed from the “risks” of preg­nancy, people can just have fun and not have any moral con­cerns about sex,” he said.
“Children of Men” offers an eerily con­vincing prophetic warning about the effect on human psy­chology if mankind were barren.
Instead of an instan­ta­neous reaction to a meteor hit or zombie attack marking the end of the world, James spec­u­lates on the moral and psy­cho­logical dis­order of man’s actions made when the end of the human race is in sight.
By jux­ta­posing the hope every new baby brings into the world with the mean­ing­lessness of an exis­tence when nature denies homosapiens life, James gives the book a unique pro-life message.
Mas­ter­fully written and sus­penseful, “Children of Men” leaves the readers with a final thought-pro­voking scene. Only hours after the miracle enters the world and Theo deposes of the Warden of England:
“It was with a thumb wet with his own tears and stained with her blood that he made on the child’s forehead the sign of the cross.”

lquinones@hillsdale.edu

SHARE
Previous articleThe unholy Church Road
Next articleHow ’bout them apples
Lillian Quinones
Lillian Quinones is a junior from Madison, Wisconsin, majoring in biochemistry and minoring in journalism. She finds her intellectual passion in questions of science and philosophy. She has written for the Collegian for the past three years. lquinones@hillsdale.edu | twitter: @LHKQuinones