Study Guide

2001: A Space Odyssey Part 1, Chapter 3

By Arthur C. Clarke

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Part 1, Chapter 3


  • Moon-Watcher and his group don't remember being experimented on the next day. Not clear if that's because they've been hypnotized or because they don't generally remember stuff.
  • Another encounter with the Others.
  • And at night back to the slab. It only picks the best and the brightest to mess with this time. That includes our hero, Moon-Watcher.
  • It shows him visions of him and the man-apes all contented and happy and having eaten enough.
  • Give a man-ape a dream, and next thing you know you'll have a moon rocket.
  • The slab keeps showing him the contented man-apes over and over in their little four person family grouping. Why just two little man-apes in this domestic scene? Maybe because in Arthur C. Clarke's day, two was a reasonable number of kids.
  • It says that the new patterns of Moon-Watcher's brain would be passed on to his kids through his genes. So the slab is rewriting his genes, supposedly. Tricky slab.
  • But not tricky enough; during one night, it accidentally fries the brain of a man-ape. Dead man-ape.
  • The slab goes dark for one night, but then it goes on as before. Moon-Watcher is seeing terrible, wonderful visions of man-ape life to come.
  • One day, Moon-Watcher sees a pig, and inspired by his time with the slab, he picks up a rock, and then he kills the pig.
  • He thinks he will never be hungry again, like Scarlett O'Hara, but more Neanderthalish.

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