Fertility Symbolism

In Children of Men, humans have become infertile, and the youngest person alive is eighteen years old. While everyone else is infertile, Kee becomes pregnant but must keep it a secret from the world until she and her baby are safe. Before we are even aware of her pregnancy, the film gives subtle visual clues about fertility and continues to do this throughout the film. One of the first clues we are given is animals. Even though humans are infertile, animals are continuing to reproduce. Jasper has a cat and dog at home, and there are dogs and kittens at the farmhouse. The film puts a lot of emphasis on the animals when they are in a scene; they are always in frame. The kittens climbing up Theo’s leg have even more emphasis on them; they are given a close-up shot because they are kittens- babies. The scene in the barn is also foreshadowing for what Kee is about to show Theo. Theo walks in and she is standing among calves. The shot makes Kee appear as a symbol of hope for human fertility; she looks like a fertility goddess. Baby animals are a major source of symbolism in the film.

Another use of symbolism is the oranges. Oranges are commonly thought to help both male and female reproduction organs. In many cultures oranges are also associated with fertility and good fortune.  Miriam is eating an orange in the car when we first meet Kee. Toward the ending of the film when Theo and Kee are waiting with other refugees in a safe-room, an old woman is holding an orange in the shape of a swan, which is another symbolic form of fertility.

It also seems that a majority of the people Theo and Kee meet in the film have pets. Jasper had a cat and dog, the farmhouse had kittens, dogs, and cows, Marichka had her little dog, and the old woman had a cat and birds. Since people became infertile, they seemed to have replaced that need with pets.

Do you think the different symbolisms used throughout the film adds an existence of hope to the story?


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