After reading Earth Abides, as a novel, I really did enjoy it, and a common theme I am finding throughout this text and other post apocalypse stories is how ‘Men go and come, but earth abides’ (a quote which Stewart uses to open and close his novel) this makes an agreed suggestion that the human race is just a guest on this planet, and so greater natural forces like disease can easily be the end of humanity as well as self destruction via nuclear war as you see in such tales like The Road. It’s quite interesting that this book isn’t about a post nuclear holocaust as the time it was written World War 2 was just ending and The Cold War was just beginning. With the memory of humanity still being all around the survivors, the last Americans continue their new life using the old means of their past life. Living in houses, driving in cars, eating cans of food and using electricity and plumbing in their everyday lives still. It’s only until these things fail with time and old age gets the better of most of the original tribe that a more primitive life begins, suggesting the last Americans were clinging onto the American lifestyle even after its demise. The use of coins as the arrow heads during the last chapter suggest that important luxuries in our time such as money is worthless to the younger members of the tribe, coins are just seen as metal with other purposes than of what was intended.
This book being published in 1949 shows its time via the treatment of women throughout the novel. Women being seen as only the mother would be quite sexist in this day and age, but Em’s character being the source of strength and confidence to Ish throughout the years and also, the importance of repopulating their small tribe gives women an equal role in their small society. The only character which has dated attributes is Evie, who is never given the chance to have children due to them not wanting to repopulate “half witted” children into their Tribe.