Not merely a vision of a possible future, a warning of sorts, but a vision of man’s nature comes from this story, and it’s not the nature of man that enabled this mess, but rather what occurs later, in McCarthy’s devastated world many years after the event that destroyed it.
What disturbs me the most is that while I can well imagine a fight for survival, a binge of looting, helping each other, clustering into compact groups as an aftermath, I would have guessed that eventually a drive to rebuild would come about.
This may in fact be impossible in McCarthy’s world, perhaps a place where nothing will grow and if food cannot be planted and harvested, then it would indeed come to this. But it would seem to me that enough is left standing to have somehow gotten around the problem. Hydraponic gardening? Deep digging? Animal husbandry? When the man found dried up apples (not decomposed?) he ate them seeds and all. My first thought was no–save the seeds to plant!
McCarthy doesn’t tell us what happened after the blast that wrecked the world, but it appears that the event was not the killing blow, but rather, what came after.