How does the author P.D. James The Children of Men use the setting to show power and corruption? 

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

It was reasonable to struggle, to suffer, perhaps even to die, for a more just, a more compassionate society, but not in a world with no future where, all too soon, the very words 'justice,' 'compassion,' 'society,’ 'struggle,' 'evil,' would be unheard echoes on an empty air.

In the futuristic world of The Children of Men, without a new generation to carry on, there is a real sense of the fragility of life. The people find that they must numb themselves to certain things that remind them of their losses. For example, playgrounds in disuse or destroyed, and are now covered with grass. Toys have been burned. Now cats and dogs are treated like babies, even baptized. Throughout the society there pervades a malaise, and there is a great negativity in the older people;in fact, some even commit suicide.

There are few churches in existence any more; the libraries are closed, and books, paintings, and artifacts are stored away. In short, the democratic society has given way to more uninspiring, but tyrannical government and universal negativism. There are penal colonies controlled by the inmates who organize mass suicides; Xan Lyppiatt, is the Warden of England. While he was originally elected, he is now a despot, who is protected by a tremendous security organization of perpetual surveillance and a private army. Now there is a small resistance group known as the Five Fishes.