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In Alas, Babylon, how is the inadequacy of Bubba Offenhaus as Civil Defense chief shown?

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marianalovesj... | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted August 26, 2011 at 8:28 AM via web

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  1. In Alas, Babylon, how is the inadequacy of Bubba Offenhaus as Civil Defense chief shown?

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted August 26, 2011 at 7:44 PM (Answer #1)

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Consider how Bubba Offenhaus is presented at the beginning of Chapter Nine. Although he is supposedly Director of Civil Defense, the book makes it clear that it is Randy who is running around trying to act for the good of the community. Bubba Offenhaus seems to have hidden himself away in his house and to be remarkably indifferent about the fate of the community of which he is supposedly in charge of. Note how he is described in the following quote:

Bubba's funeral parlour was locked and empty and he was no longer seen in town. Since he was Deputy Director of Civil Defense as well as undertaker, a public appearance exposed him to all sorts of requests and problems which frightened him and about which he could do nothing. So Bubba and Kitty Offenhaus could only be found in their big new house, a rare combination of modern and classic, constructed largely of tinted glass between antebellum Greek columns.

Not only has Bubba secluded himself away from his community, but also, when Randy comes to him with the very pressing case of needing to dispose of a radioactive body and radioactive jewellry, Bubba at first looks as if he is not going to help by supplying them with a lead coffin as he wants to be reimbursed for it. His failure to act in the way that his position requires him to act and his selfishness and lack of courage clearly shows he is inadequate to hold the position that he has.

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