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Is it the apartheid; the racial segregation where the contact between white and colored were limited or Nelson Mandela; who was part of the process of removing this partitioning in south Africa or maybe the 2010 FIFA world cup, or the unique mix of culture, wildlife and the appealing, beautiful landscapes....
SparkNotes: On the Beach: Character List
Even in the context of character development, this is frightening, especially since I'm not convinced that Shute is making this satirical (Shute has little in the way of authorial intrusions, which is why I mentioned Peter's overall role in the book).