Study Guide

Alas, Babylon Shaving

By Pat Frank

Shaving

For Randy, performing his morning ritual of shaving and showering—both of them "painful luxuries"—makes him feel connected to the world before The Day (8.1)

There's just one problem: "his razor [is] a six-inch hunting knife" (8.2). Sheesh. A knick with that'd knock off your nose. As painful as that sounds, Randy's plus-sized razor provides an extra layer of symbolic goodness for us to enjoy.

Even though he's doing something he used to do, he's doing it in a different—and far more barbaric—way. It can't be the same as it was before; he's living in a different world.

Eventually, Peyton discovers some secret shaving supplies stuffed in the attic, which makes Randy's morning ritual a bit more efficient—and a lot less painful. Even without this sudden technological upgrade, however, Randy would've kept shaving 'til kingdom come. In a world gone insane, you've got to grab hold of whatever piece of sanity you can.

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