Pat Frank's Alas, Babylon

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Pat Frank’s Alas, Babylon strongly conveys a theme of survival of the fittest. Survival of the fittest does not only mean physical strength but also the accompaniment of mental strength too. Survival in a war-torn dystopian society not only relies on one to have the physical capability to carry out chores necessary for sustenance of life, but also the knowledge of what things are safe to the consumption of humans. Food is the most vital of all things in this type of society. Without food the society can, and most likely will, break down. Usually in times of extreme duress you see one person rise up while the others crumble. Frank, however, has many characters rise out of the ashes, like a phoenix, to breathe a new purpose into their lives.…show more content…
While the 1950s in American History was a time when racism was rampant, and the country was widely divided on the issue of desegregation. However Frank organizes an almost instant desegregation following the atom bombs. In “Extraordinarily Convenient Neighbors” African-American Characters in White-Authored Post-Atomic Novels, Foertsch states, “in the days following ‘The Day,’ Randy integrates his commune of neighbors and relatives, despite the misgivings and outright hostilities, of the more segregationist between them” (Foertsch 1). Bill McGovern examples this as he becomes “mechanic, second class” (Frank 171). Bill quickly overcame his bigotry in the recognition of the need for survival. Frank leads the reader to believe that Bill was not truly an extremist for segregation, considering how quickly he recognized the usefulness of Malachai, and the other African-Americans, and puts aside his hatred for the greater shared goal of survival. Frank also shows the overcoming of racism due to the need for survival through a minor character. When in town Randy observes, “Carleton Hawes…vice president of the county’s White Citizens Council…drink water, presumably boiled, from a Negro’s jug” (Frank 191). It is in times of great despair that the border of race and color is broken down, and survivors see no longer the differences by race and gender, but only their fellow…show more content…
Racism, sexism, and discrimination against children would not be tolerated by the unforgiving harshness of a less-civilized world than what the characters previously belonged to. The prejudices, and bigotries, of a time passed would no longer prevail once survival is the number one priority. Children will have to suffer the loss of a childhood, forced to grow-up faster than in the time before. Women will not be thought of as only useful in the kitchen, if the men truly want to survive. Jobs will be divvyed up along the lines of skill and capability rather than race, sex, or age. Survival must be attained through cooperation not hatred. Frank illustrates this viewpoint in Alas, Babylon through the usage of characters such as Ben Franklin, Malachai, Bill, and

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