What is symbolic about the landscape that Peewee Cobb flies over in Alas, Babylon?

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accessteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

This section of the novel appears in Chapter Four, and of course narrates the trigger that initiates the nuclear holocaust that leaves Randy and the people with him in such dire straits. If we look at this section, it is clear that the description of the landscape where he is flying has grim symbolic significance:

As he circled, the sky in the southeast grew light. When the sun touched his wingtips, the sea was still dark below. Then gradually, the shape and colour of sea and earth became plain. He felt entirely alone and apart from this transformation, as if he watched from a separate planet. He checked his map. Far to the east he picked out Mount Carmel, and a river, and beyond were the hills of Megiddo, also called Armageddon. He continued to orbit.

There are two things to note in this paragraph. Firstly, the way in which the sunrise gradually brings light to his surroundings is something that he remains oblivious to, or distant from, which of course perhaps allows him to unleash the disaster that is about to unfold. Secondly, it is highly significant that the alternative name for Megiddo is mentioned, for armageddon, a word normally associated with the end of the world as depicted in the Book of Revelation in the Bible, is of course about to be unleashed through the pilot's actions.