Alas, Babylon Essay, Research Paper
English Essay #3
We re all going to have to learn how to walk again. After a nuclear holocaust devastates the country of the United States, the people of the River Road Community have to work through adversity and strive for the survival of every family. Households have to do without the things they would usually have taken for granted. They have to bond together to fight the trials of learning to walk. Frank s quote demonstrates his understanding of the task ahead of them as they start to learn to live again. They would have to begin by crawling before they can once more stand-up on both feet. Frank s quote is manifested throughout the story by the observed changes in the lifestyle of the community, the ways in which the diminishment of supplies are dealt with, and how the loss of community members forces others to take on new roles.
After the nuclear holocaust, the lifestyle of the River Road community changed drastically. Before The Day, many residents of the community were wastrels. These rejects of society lived each day to eat, drink, and sleep. They lacked the drive to succeed in everyday life. After the bomb drop, everything changed. These blots on modern society crawled out of their shells in order to contribute something to a struggling society. They worked hard on construction and other things that would help the community. This strenuous work gave these once slobs a new outlook on life as well as the regular exercise they lacked. But, this sudden increase in work was not the only variable playing a role on them. After the bomb, anarchy broke out among community and surrounding towns. Highwaymen robbed the innocent, and people were taken advantage of. They had to start over. Randy gained leadership for the community. The next part was to gain control. He and other community members formulated a plan in which to regain control. Once it was obtained, laws were made that would govern the growing community. The government had started all over again. Another lifestyle serve was in the economy. The US currency no longer had value. With no gold to back up the paper money, it was worthless (except as toilet paper). Instead, the River Road community relied on the barter system. Trades were made for the items that were needed. If one person needed a spoon, they could trade some honey for it. Because of the nuclear holocaust, the lifestyle of the River Road community changed.
Another way in which the community had to learn how to walk again, arose from the lack of supplies. Before The Day, many residents live on a diet of beer and nuts. After the bomb incident, many of the foods found in the pre-bombed world were no longer available. During chapter 666, the food supply runs terribly low. Helen and Lib create a new salad using leaves and other greenery found around the house. This new salad would never have been attempted had it not been for the lack of food due to the holocaust. The nutritional value of this green salad, compared to the beer and nuts, shows a positive improvement in nutritional content of their diet. Another loss came as a result of the loss of running water after the nuclear holocaust. Not long after the water was cut off the tub supplies and other rations of water, which had been stored up, were running out. The community had to limit its use of water and cut back on things that on a pre-bomb day would have seemed natural (like flushing the toilet or taking a bath). The community adapted the Artesian water to use as their source for water. This water was not as nice as the purified water they had previously had, but it was water none-the-less. The harnessing of this water required the help of many. LALALAALA. Also, when medical supplies ran low, things had to be improvised. With just the aid of a billiard table, steak knives, darning needles, hair curlers, and nylon line, Dan operated on Ben Franklin, removing his appendix. This is just one example where things had to be invented due to a lack of supplies. They also decided to use hypnotism as a form of anesthesia. Dan could speak a few sentences, and they would fall into malleable trance. (p. 283) He would then be able to operate without the patient feeling the procedure. Another example of the River Road community having to learn to walk again would be with food preservation. Without the use of refrigerators and other systems for keeping food fresh, there was a great need for salt. The salt could be used to preserve most meats. An animal could be slaughtered, and part eaten for a meal. The remaining portions of the animal could be salted and kept for a while. Towards the end of July, Randy noticed the salt supplies running dangerously low. He and many other members of the community had to set sail in search of a source for salt. They did return triumphantly with many bags of salt. These are all ways in which the community has adapted to a loss of supplies and had to work through the adversity and learn to walk again.
The last way in which the River Road community had to learn to walk again was how the loss of community members forces the others to take on new jobs. When the towns were bombed, many skilled people were lost. Jobs needed to be filled and the residents of the River Road community rose to the challenge. Helen served as the barber for the group, cutting everyone s hair. Randy was the leader. He took control of the group and returned order to an anarchical society. Dan took over as the full time doctor, and Lib took over most of the cooking. Many
Frank s quote, we re all going to have to learn how to walk again…, is manifested throughout the story by the observed changes in the lifestyle of the community, the ways in which the diminishment of supplies are dealt with, and how the loss of community members forces others to take on new roles. The great disaster affected everyone, and everyone pulled together to strive through the hard times. The community, crippled by the nuclear blast, regained strength and managed to walk again. The road there was filled with hardship and pain, but the path made them stronger. The River Road Community survived the nuclear holocaust, even though they had to learn how to walk all over again.