Study Guide

Alas, Babylon Transformation

By Pat Frank

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Alas, Babylon might be a post-apocalyptic novel on its surface, but underneath it's a motivational tome of personal transformation.

Randy Bragg goes from a hard-drinking, failed politician to the Rambo of the post-apocalyptic wasteland. Bill McGovern goes from being bored to death in retirement to loving life like he hasn't in decades. Dan Gunn goes from living his nightmare to living his dream. And all it takes is an itsy-bitsy nuclear war. Fortunately for us, reading Alas, Babylon will give enough insight into this process of self-transformation that we won't have to experience the nukes ourselves.

Questions About Transformation

  1. Is there anyone who proves incapable of self-transformation? If so, who?
  2. How do you feel about the idea that the characters of the novel benefitted in some way from the nuclear war? Do you disagree with it?
  3. Does the novel depict the process of self-transformation differently for men and women?
  4. Would Randy have turned his life around without The Day? Why or why not?

Chew on This

Unlike the main characters, Edgar Quisenberry is incapable of adapting to the radical changes that have befallen the world.

Without The Day, Randy might never have gotten out of his morning-drinking, depressed rut.

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