2001: A Space Odyssey

A discussion of three major themes at work in Arthur Clarke’s novel, 2001: A Space Odyssey.

This paper looks at how Arthur C. Clarke?s 2001: A Space Odyssey is an account of human progress contrived by a superior intellect. It examines how, unlike many novels that magnify a single blink in the historical spectrum, it traverses the broad range of humankind?s evolution. In particular, it looks at how the three themes that Arthur C. Clarke primarily focuses on in this novel comprise the development of mankind, the clash of human advancement with the continuous evolution of technology, and, ultimately, the role of a superior intelligence in the voyage of human evolution.
The heart of the narrative lies in the gradual development of humanity, and the entire book is founded upon this theme. As the story begins, man is characterized by the vile ?man-apes.? These creatures neatly correspond with the established stereotypes associated with ancient man. These beasts struggle to operate at the intellectual equivalence of the animal kingdom when suddenly the introduction of a celestial monolith thrusts them to the forefront of progress. The monolith prompts one of the man-apes to use stones for hunting, and the age of simple tools and machines is ushered in. This simple link in the chain of evolution may have very well saved the human race from famine and extinction.