Study Guide

Childhood's End Chapter 12

By Arthur C. Clarke

Chapter 12

  • In Jan's request, Sullivan sees the chance to do something that will put him in the history books, and, truthfully, he would do it anyway. He agrees.
  • Jan writes Maia a letter.
  • He tells her his plan is to hide in the whale and hitch a ride to the Overlords' world.
  • He theorizes the trip will take a few months for him, thanks to the speeds of the Overlords' ships. In Earth time, however, the journey will be at least forty years.
  • This makes the journey an eighty-year round trip, meaning everyone Jan knows will be dead upon his return—assuming a return is even in the cards.
  • Sullivan recounts the necessary provisions Jan will need for a safe trip, and Jan tells him he plans to solve the supply problem with narcosamine, which basically means he'll hibernate for most of the trip.
  • Sullivan is glad Jan thought so far ahead. After all, he doesn't want to think he's sending the boy on some highly complicated suicide mission.
  • We return to Jan's letter: He tells Maia goodbye and says he's looking forward to meeting her grandchildren.