Alas_ Babylon by dfhdhdhdhjr


									Discussion Notes
   Chapters 8 & 9
Chapter 8
Pg. 179: “Helen and Lib would be preparing breakfast …”
 Are there clear gender roles established after the Day/before
  the Day?

Pgs. 180: “Very soon, they would have neither flashlights nor
  any means of receiving radio except through the Admiral’s
  short wave.”
Randy and company are running low on important supplies
Chapter 8
Pg. 180 (Continued) Characterization – “He (Randy) no
  longer regarded whiskey as a drink.”
Why does Randy no longer regard whiskey as a drink? How
  has he changed since the beginning of the novel? What
  does the previous quote indicate about his character (after
  the Day)?
Pg. 180: “Whiskey you could make, given the proper
  equipment and ingredients. But coffee came from South
  America …”
Coffee is an imported luxury that Americans enjoy. What
  other imported luxuries might you miss if you were in
  Randy’s position?
Chapter 8
Pg. 181: Preparedness – “The sight of Peyton enriched Randy’s
  mornings. She was brash and buoyant … unsinkable and
  Focus on the phrase in bold. What, beyond the obvious,
  does this reveal about Peyton and her influences?
Pgs. 184: Racial Tensions – “Randy was conscious that the
  Henrys supplied more than their own share of food for the
  benefit of all …”
 Is race still an issue in Fort Repose, Florida? Let’s discuss
  specifically what the Henrys have/are contributing to
  Randy and company: Chickens, Pigs, Corn, Sugar Cane …
Chapter 8
Pg. 185 – “Randy’s first impulse was to say no, that this wasn’t
  a job for a thirteen year old boy.”
What job is Randy nervous about handing over to Ben? Why
  is this job especially important to everyone?

Pg. 186-7 – “I’ve got three serious cases of radiation
Who is suffering? Porky Logan, Bigmouth Bill Cullen, Pete
  Hernandez – We’ll come back to them …
Chapter 8
Pg. 187: “Since The Day, the demand for her services had
  multiplied…It was a surprise, and a delight, to see children
  devour books. Without ever knowing it, they were
  receiving an education.”
Why would a librarian become more important after The
  Day? What character trait to Alice Cooksey and Florence
  now share? Why are children suddenly so interested in
Pg. 188: “It was strange, she thought, pedaling steadily, that it
  should require a holocaust to make her own life worth
How does it seem Alice felt about her life before The Day?
Chapter 8
Pg. 190: “The laws of hunger and survival could not be
  evaded, and honored no color line.”
What does Pat Frank mean by this statement? Has racism
  dissolved since The Day? How so?

Pgs. 193: “If Man retained faith in God, he might also retain
  faith in Man.”
What triggers this thought in Randy? (Hint: What does he
  read?) Consider also this new kind of communication in
  the absence of television, newspapers, etc. Is it effective?
Chapter 8
Pg. 196: “Randy wondered whether he was being selfish,
  trading for coffee.”
What does this consideration reveal about Randy’s character?
  Has he changed since the beginning of the novel? What
  does he end up leaving with?
Pg. 200: Re-read Randy’s description of Rita. What do you
  gather from how he describes her? How does Pat Frank
  paint a picture for his readers? What kind of past did
  Randy and Rita share?
Chapter 8
Pgs. 202-3: “Don’t your new women like Scotch, Randy? I
  hear you’ve got two women in your house now. Which one
  are you sleeping with, Randy?”
How has Randy changed? How does Rita’s attitude
  disappoint Randy? Does Rita seem to be prepared in life
  following The Day? What has she been trading?

Pg. 204: “A bit of blackened skin flaked away, leaving raw
  flesh beneath.”
What did the sore on Rita’s finger come from? What does her
  sore indicate? What might be ironic about Porky’s name
  given what we learn of his greed? What is Porky’s fate?
Chapter 8
Pg. 208: “There are a lot of people around here who still don’t
  know what radiation means. They hear about it, but I don’t
  think they believe it.”
We’ve spent a lot of time discussing the importance of
  preparedness. What does this say of people in general after
  The Day?
Pg. 210 – “I have drugs only for those worth saving.”
Dan Gunn says this at the end of Chapter 8. Why? What
  does this say of human nature and the stability of
Chapter 9
 Pg. 213: “Porky’s a menace and the jewelry is deadly. Bubba,
 what we’ve got to have is a lead-lined coffin.”
Why do Dan and Randy have to address this issue with Bubba
 Offenhaus? Why is it imperative that he be buried in a
 lead-lined coffin?

Pg. 215: “He stepped in front of Dan, lifted the flap of his
  holster, and drew out the .45 …”
This indicates a real turning-point in Randy and reveals his
  new role as a true leader among the survivors.
Chapter 9
 Pg. 216-7: “Authority had disintegrated in Fort Repose…He
 had assumed leadership and he was not sure why.”
This will become even more important very soon …

Pg. 218: “Yet if they could manufacture corn whiskey it would
  be like finding coffee beans. Whiskey was a negotiable
  money crop.”
For what can whiskey be used and how would this be helpful
  to everyone? Who comes up with this new idea?
Chapter 9
 Pg. 219: “What will happen to the birth rate is anybody’s
  guess. And yet, this is only nature’s way of protecting the
  race. Nature is proving Darwin’s law of natural selection.”
What does Dan Gunn mean here? Let’s discuss “Survival of
  the Fittest” … what does that imply? Are future generations
  at great risk? How?
Pg. 220-1: Mrs. Vanbruuker-Brown, Acting President, calls for
  Reserve and National Guard Officers to take on leadership
  roles in cities where organized public safety no longer
  exists. Who specifically in “Alas, Babylon” does this now
Chapter 9
Pg. 222 – Helen’s emotional outburst
Until this point, Helen has appeared strong and well-
  prepared. Does her reaction surprise you? As a result of
  Helen’s outburst, readers learn more about Lib’s past.
  What do we learn? How might this help her and others in
  the future?
Pg. 225 – “Did you ever hear a little girl say ‘If I grow up’
Randy is disturbed by Peyton’s practical, yet depressing
  outlook on the future.
Chapter 9
Consider this! At many points in the novel, Randy seems to
 be developing a kind of hopeful attitude toward the future
 and his new life. Does he maintain this attitude? How does
 Pat Frank depict Randy and other characters emotionally?
 Is life a “rollercoaster”? How so?

Pg. 226: “Without communications, the simplest mechanical
  failure could turn into a nightmare and disaster.”
Dan Gunn is missing and it is quickly getting dark outdoors.
  This presents several complications.
Chapter 9
Pg. 230-3: Randy and Lib visit Admiral Hazzard in the hopes
  of finding Dan. They are unsuccessful, but learn that
  Dmitri Torgatz, “a minor league bureaucrat”, is in control of
Pg. 235-6: “Once both sides had maximum capability in
  hydrogen weapons and efficient means of delivering them
  there was no sane alternative to peace. It takes two to make
  a peace but only one to make a war.”
Admiral Hazzard is knowledgeable about the mechanics of
  war and reveals in the quote above where both the U.S.S.R.
  and the United States went wrong.
Chapter 9
Pg. 240: “In his concern for Dan, he did not immediately
  think of what this loss meant to all of them.”
What happens to Dan Gunn and what do you think Pat Frank
  is foreshadowing here?

Pg. 241: “There were human jackals for every human disaster.”
Interpret this quote. Do you believe this? How is this true at
  this particular moment in the novel?
Chapter 9
Pg. 243: The German Shepherd
How does Ben react following his “kill”? How does he reveal
  both “preparedness” and innocence? Why is this event
  ultimately good news for the Henrys and Randy, etc.?

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