The older generation spends their leisure time playing with the doll in an escapist role-playing game that recalls life before the apocalypse. At the story’s climax, a couple from one isolated outpost of humanity plays agame against dwellers of another outpost in deadly earnest. The survivors’ shared enthusiasm for the doll and the creation of her accessories from vital supplies is a sort of mass delusion that prevents meaningful re-building of the shattered society.
Child’s toy: innocence
Jewelry: power and wealth
Apple: love, wisdom, evil, death, immortality
Dogs: guidance, protection, loyalty, status symbol
Lambs: peace, suffering, vulnerability
Rabbit: rebirth and resurrection
Butterfly: the life cycle
Dirty window: physical malady, a polluted body
Broken masonry: corrupted soul, decay
Key beside lock: free will
Key near fruit: lust, insatiable desire
Playing this game... it’s almost like being back there, back in the world before the war. That’s why we play it, I suppose. I feel shame, but only fleetingly. The shame, almost at once, is replaced by the desire to play a little longer.