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False Dawn Themes

(Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction)

Man's inhumanity to man is allowed full reign here, since no law enforcement agency exists. In a 1980 symposium on post holocaust literature, Yarbro warned feminists away from the idea that a holocaust, "even a mini-holocaust," would be a welcome way to start with a clean slate and begin to establish female equality. Once anything like that occurs, she declared, history shows that "any small rights that you may have had for anyone but the physically strongest are gone, kaput, zowie. You do not see them again. If you want to be reduced to a state of chattel again . . . the best thing you can do is to get yourself a holocaust, even a small one. You're going to find out how it feels to earn your bread on your back." Thea is spared that fate, but she is raped once, quite brutally, and the scar that remains is a major block to her acceptance of Evan's love for her.

Man's stupidity is the cause, in some way that is left vague, of the pollution and radioactivity of the planet. Yarbro's lack of confidence in the human race is evident in the fact that no hope whatever is offered. The hope implied in a dawn is here inevitably and always false. This hopelessness and cynicism is best for those who are embittered anyway, and love gloomy affirmations of their bias.