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Free Study Guide: Alas, Babylon by Pat Frank - Free BookNotes

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1. Where does the story take place?

A. Fort Repose, Florida
B. Pistolville, Florida
C. Omaha, Nebraska
D. McCoy Air Force Base, Florida

2. In which war does the story take place

A. World War I
B. World War II
C. World War III
D. The Cold War

3. Randy spends his time searching for what extinct bird?

A. Great Auk
B. Moa
C. Carolina Parakeet
D. Passenger Pigeon

4. How many rings on the bell signaled “come home, but no danger”?

A. One
B. Two
C. Three
D. Five

5. What was stealing the Henry’s chickens and pigs?

A. Fox
B. Wolf
C. Florida Panther
D. German Shepard

6. Who provides the panel van and gasoline for the attack on the highwaymen?

A. Rita Hernandez
B. Pete Hernandez
C. Bubba Offenhaus
D. Porky Logan

7. Why would Jim Hickey not trade his honey for Randy’s scotch?

A. The scotch was not good enough
B. Jim’s religious principles prohibited him from trading in alcohol
C. Jim needed the scotch bottle for the honey
D. Jim changed his mind and wanted something other than scotch

8. How does Randy execute the surviving highwayman?

A. Firing squad
B. Beheading
C. Hanging
D. Electrocution

9. Who finds the hand-cranked phonograph in the attic?

A. Ben
B. Peyton
C. Caleb
D. Malachi

10. What else do the men find when they sail upriver in search of salt?

A. Quail
B. Armadillos
C. Fish
D. Crabs



1. The minorities and “white trash” live in nearby Pistolville. Explain the symbolism of the town’s name.

2. The novel was written and set in the 1950s when equality between the sexes and races did not yet exist to any large degree. How would the novel be different if it were written today and set in more recent times when men and women and the different races are more nearly seen as equals?

3. Much of Fort Repose’s struggle to survive is based on the need to overcome racism and discrimination - recognizing that all people are needed and that discrimination is something they cannot afford. How would the novel be different if it were set in more recent times when society has made great strides in overcoming racial prejudice? Develop a thesis on the concept of racism in the aftermath of a nuclear war.

4. In the days following The Day, “essential” goods and services (electricity, water, fresh food, medicines, etc.) are gone. What do you think would be the most serious loss and why? How would that change you?

5. In Chapter 6, Helen makes an “inventory of necessities.” Do you think her list was a good one? Did she omit something or include something that wasn’t really a necessity? If you had to make such a list, what would be on it?

6. Helen says that her children grew up and have lived under the shadow of nuclear war - “For them the abnormal has become normal.” Do today’s children live under a shadow? If so, what is it and what are the consequences?

7. After "The Day", almost all contact with the outside world is cut off. If you were in that situation, what would you miss the most?

8. Why was it important for the author to have the Acting Chief Executive be a woman? When answering, consider the roles and expectations of women in the 1950s.

9. With regard to the prior question: How would the role of a woman in the same situation be different today?

10. How does the death of Florence’s fish reflect the theme of survival?

11. Part of the process of survival is finding enough food. How does the Bragg household solve this problem? Do you have another solution? If so, what is it?

12. How has terrorism and 09/11/2001 affected your life in comparison to the events in this novel? Are they similar?


1; A; 2. D; 3. C; 4. C; 5. D; 6. A; 7. B; 8. C; 9. B; 10. D

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