Study Guide

Alas, Babylon Suffering

By Pat Frank

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Alas, Babylon depicts a world-ending nuclear war between the United States and Soviet Union, so don't expect a lot of good vibes. Whether we're talking about the mental anguish of watching society collapse before your eyes, the debilitating illness caused by radiation exposure, or the constant threat of starvation and death, suffering is simply a daily reality in this new world.

While some characters can't stand up to the fire, most manage to overcome their personal pain by uniting as a group, building a supportive community in the rubble of their former world.

Questions About Suffering

  1. How do Randy's war experiences influence his reaction to The Day?
  2. How does Dan Gunn keep up the motivation to keep helping patients?
  3. What makes the highwaymen do such evil things? What caused them to change from average citizens to bloodthirsty criminals?
  4. Compare and contrast how two characters cope with their suffering in the aftermath of The Day.

Chew on This

The suffering Randy witnessed in Korea might weigh heavy on his heart, but those experiences steel him for what he witnesses after The Day.

The fact that the highwaymen were once normal citizens illustrates how desperate circumstances can cause people to do horrendous things.

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