The setting is the moon in a future era. A boy is traveling with his father from his underground home, visiting the surface of the moon and seeing the stars with his own eyes for the first time ever.
The tone moves from the boy's sense of wonder at seeing space and the earth for the first time, to sadness at the death of human life on earth in a nuclear war, to hope that someday the earth can be reclaimed.
The theme or message is cautionary: it would be a tragedy to destroy life on earth, for the earth is a beautiful place. The other moral is that is important to keep hope alive even in the worst circumstances, even in the "anguish of exile." The survivors on the moon are animated by the hope that one day their descendants can return to earth.
The imagery is vivid, depicting the beauty of the stars and comparing the grimmer landscape of the moon with the remembered beauty of the earth. The moon is a:
jumbled wasteland of craters, mountain ranges, and ravines. The crests of the mountains,...
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