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What's the meaning of the title "Children of Men"? There are no men giving birth to babies, obviously.

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  • All live births are children of both men and women (unless they are virgin births). So there is no particular problem in calling newborns "children of men".
    – matt_black
    Apr 21, 2023 at 23:28

4 Answers 4

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According to Cuarón, the title of P. D. James' book (The Children of Men) is an allegory derived from a passage of scripture in the Bible. (Psalm 90 (89):3 of the KJV: "Thou turnest man to destruction; and sayest, Return, ye children of men.")
James refers to her story as a "Christian fable" while Cuarón describes it as "almost like a look at Christianity": "I didn't want to shy away from the spiritual archetypes," Cuarón told Filmmaker Magazine. "But I wasn't interested in dealing with dogma."

Wikipedia

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  • I didn't understand any of that, to be honest. How is that quote related to the plot of the book/film?
    – Val
    May 3, 2020 at 12:10
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    @Val Bible, god, people dying en masse, women giving birth to child that is a saviour of whole huMANity. I don't know if you know but bible is very male centered. As Men are people and that's all. So by writing "Men" author of the psalm had in mind "every single human". May 5, 2020 at 13:44
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    The implication of the title is that mankind has been divinely made sterile as a punishment from God. And that the children one can hear playing as the final scene fades to black are like Noah and his family - as the old order slips away, God allows a small number of innocents to survive to take over the ruins.
    – tbrookside
    May 11, 2020 at 20:56
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    @Val This passage means that humans became destructive, and God wants them to return to him. Humans are merely children to God, children of men(humans).
    – TK-421
    May 13, 2020 at 5:37
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"Men" does not necessarily mean male

The classic (now a bit archaic?) meaning of the word "men", especially when referring to large groups, includes all humans, not only male humans. So it's reasonable to assume that the title essentially means something like "Children of mankind".

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  • I don't feel this actually answers the question, and is not much more than a comment.
    – Joachim
    Apr 12, 2023 at 16:21
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The phrase "Children of men" from the psalm in the bible implies a belonging and origin from God or ones original nature (similar to the phrase "Son of God"). In the novel it is the found in the hopefulness of the story which runs within a backdrop of bleakness and inhumanity. I believe there the title implies that it is inherent in humanity(man) to find its way back to its essential humanity (or God in the Christian sense).

Psalm 90 (89):3 of the KJV: "Thou turnest man to destruction; and sayest, Return, ye children of men.

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    Hi there, welcome to Movies & TV. I don't see some significant difference between your answer and the top-voted one, quoting same bible references. Could you please clarify this?
    – OldPadawan
    Apr 10, 2023 at 3:25
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    @OldPadawan I feel this answer actually does a better job (or, rather, a job at all) of explaining it.
    – Joachim
    Apr 10, 2023 at 8:37
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    @OldPadawan I agree with Joachim, top voted answer doesn't really answer the question. The phrase 'children of men' does come from the Bible reference so repetition can't be helped in that sense. However I think it adds by describing the structure of the phrase and why it applies to the novel. I also didn't want to put too much interpretation as it is also up to the reader to define for themselves to some degree, so there is a balance. Apr 11, 2023 at 12:58
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    @Joachim and @ Potentially: I don't disagree with what you say, but was expecting clarification in order to distinguish between these two answers. As they're written, I have to take a little of each one of them without clearly understanding, but that's maybe just me :)
    – OldPadawan
    Apr 11, 2023 at 13:04
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Plot of the movie is:

In 2027, 18 years of human infertility have left society on the verge of extinction. When one woman miraculously gets pregnant, Theo, a bureaucrat, must transport her to safety.

In my opinion, the title is Children of Men, since the book states that male infertility is the reason why no one is able to produce any children in this fictional world. Hence named Children of Men.

Children of Men explores the themes of hope and faith in the face of overwhelming futility and despair. The film's source, P. D. James' novel The Children of Men (1992), describes what happens when society is unable to reproduce, using male infertility to explain this problem. In the novel, it is made clear that hope depends on future generations.

Source

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  • How does the book explain anything with male infertility. And how does the movie refer to male infertility? I didn't catch any reference whatsoever.
    – Val
    May 5, 2020 at 22:17

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