This is a story about man’s & mankind’s survival. It says men are superior to women & must rule. It rejects civilized morality, returning to harsh necessity. What lives will survive & must therefore fight: Is that right or wrong? Our man believes the human passions must be subdued, reduced to the beastly. He is superior – a better fighter, quicker to act, & indomitable when the slaughter commences. He denies emphatically he is like the other human beings; he must be above them. He talks only of hunter & prey. He knows war… He is ugly.
The woman believes people ought to be nice to one another. She is accordingly a bad judge of character; & weak. Her morality might be true, except that it is hers. She cannot persuade the man to lead or protect. Her morality conceals a monster, a murderer who makes himself appear weak & powerless, which the woman believes means good…
The other warriors are worse than criminals. They do not come together. They lack rulers & a common cause. – The tyrant believes justice is only the advantage of the stronger. Therefore law is only the strong deceiving the weak. Apparently, this is heavenly, compared to the anarchy we see in the forest. We are shown the pre-political & we are taught even tyranny is political by comparison, & perhaps necessary.
Americans are taken from America, sent to a forest, made to fend for themselves. They do not act like citizens or political animals… They are woefully unable to survive. As madness erupts & destruction follows in its wake, we learn this is the state of nature which is a state of war. Our protagonist is like the newfangled political philosophers then, trying out systems to bring peace to those who live with war. We are forced to confront what the theories of modern philosophers have made of men. The man must be humbled in order to accept the burden of his fellowmen, who are needy. But what could persuade him?
War appears in the guise of technology first, including a glimpse of its monstrous future. The relentless quest for power disfigures the human being: he becomes a caricature of an animal ruled by necessity. Then technology disappears; man is revealed as he is. But to get there, man must overcome the weakness & stupidity technology fosters. An arrogant contempt for nature has brought him to face it defenselessly. – The power for peace is the power to protect from war; the power behind war is the new science. Without it, what is man? In the end, the man saves the woman; presumably, they will mate. This is a return to nature.
For fans of action-thrillers