Study Guide

2001: A Space Odyssey Mortality

By Arthur C. Clarke

Mortality

Any book that's about evolution is also going to be about death. Evolution works through death; some individuals die, but those that live get to pass on their genes. So, over millennia, evolution means lots and lots of death. But—2001 changes the way evolution works. Instead of evolution through dying, you get evolution through genetic manipulation by slab. The aliens are more powerful than death; mortality ends up as just a prelude to immortality. We wonder what Darwin would have to say about this.

Questions About Mortality

  1. Does Moon-Watcher triumph over morality? In what way, or why not?
  2. Does David Bowman triumph over mortality? In what way, or why not?
  3. Does Hal fear death? Does David Bowman? What evidence do you have for your answers?

Chew on This

2001 is about the mortality of the human race.

2001 is about the immortality of the human race.

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