It is "...a tale about the last survivors in the world after the total destruction of a war." Not a new theme. Much like Arch Oboler's 1951 film Five and numerous episodes of The Twilight Zone. It is still worth reading and understanding.
Kiosk from Yahoo Answers wrote...
The contrast between the happiness that the men get from his musical device and the lack of fulfillment this provides for him is interesting. In the world that this story describes, the reader expects the doctor to be happy with all that he has. As the story unfolds, you gain an understanding of the feelings behind his possessions. Doctor Jenkins is a normal character and his feelings are presented in a real manner. The reader can conclude that his personality is not unlike anyone else. What he sees is influenced by the way he is and how he feels. He views things in a way that ultimately makes his feelings of suspicion and greed stronger, therefore never breaking the cycle of how he judges those around him.
The Portable Phonograph
To stream or download the film by John Barnes
Walter Van Tilburg Clark [Wikipedia]
Footnote: Clark is probably best known for his novel The Ox-Bow Incident .