Stewart's book offers an interesting insight into the possibilities of an apocalypse, and the reasons behind its occurrence. Apocalypse fictions often reflect societal fears of the time, with the fear of the end of humanity Earth Abides begins explaining how when a species becomes so widespread and powerful that nature culls it to keep the balance. 1949 with humans spread accross the world, the recent end of WWII and the Chinese Red Army conquering neighbouring provinces, this fear of over-expansion and fighting for control could be seen to be reflected in Stewart's idea of nature taking back control.
The biblical and tribal references that the story evokes are interesting, looking at the portrayal of females as predominantly a means for procreation, using names such as mary and evie, offering a relation to religion. The book also looks at the problems arising post-apocalypse in the seperate religions of members of the tribe, this is interesting when it results in Ish attempting to get everyone together to preserve some kind of religious idea through the tribes own interpretations.
The new names of years, similar to that of the chinese calander, offer an insight into how Ish has drawn on knowlege and memory of societies previous to the apocalypse, to create his own idea of how to build again, though his interest lies more in education and a necessity for intelligence to recreate a prominant society, rather than merely a hunter gather instict to stay alive. His wish to rebuild civilisation, as opposed to simply existing stems from the early reliance on pre-apocalypse relics, wishing to create a society that can progress itself as opposed to post-apocalypse stagnation.
The problems arising with Ish and Charlie show how even post-apocalypse human nature will inevitably lead to non-harmonious struggle of the 'oppression of the individual by the mass', Ish desrcibes as the 'beginnings of war and tyrrany.'
Stewart's book is very in depth, looking at multiple problems ariving in a post-apocalyptic society, as well as being enjoyable to read.