Just a theory, The thumbs that are taken away could be related to suicide on hand guns that need to be cocked. The wife at the end could have made her husband swear an oath not to commit suicide and leave them behind and by this he removed his thumbs. You cant commit suicide with a rifle its to long and with a knife its harder and not a quick death. A hand gun to the head is a quick and painless death. The removal of thumbs takes away the luxury of an easy way out. Just a thought that came to my mind. Loved the book and the movie it got me through times when I went days without eating and lost my apartment and life gave me hope to never give up.

BS. I can cock my S&W .38 with my fingers, even my little fingers. I suspect frostbite was the cause of the loss of thumbs. Nuclear winters can get very cold, in theory.

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