Alas, Babylon

by Pat Frank

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How does Randy's character evolve throughout the novel Alas, Babylon?

Randy's character evolves considerably throughout the novel Alas, Babylon. When we first meet him, he's a hard-drinking playboy and failed politician. Yet over the course of the book he develops into a mature, responsible leader who establishes order and stability in his local community.

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At the beginning of the story, Randy Bragg is no hero; he isn't even an anti-hero. A hard-drinking playboy who's recently been defeated in his efforts to achieve political office, it seems like Randy's going nowhere in life, and fast.

Yet when Randy gets wind of an impending nuclear war between the United States and the Soviet Union, he turns into a completely different character altogether. No longer a reckless man-about-town, he starts acting responsibly, giving up drinking, taking care of his family, and showing leadership skills in his local community of Fort Response.

Before long, Randy is the protector of that community, holding the line against all external threats, including a ruthless gang of highwaymen, who bring fear and violence wherever they go. In response to this real and present threat, Randy devises a plan to ambush and defeat the highwaymen, which he helps to put into practice with ruthless efficiency. Three of the four bandits are killed in a gun battle with Randy and his friends and the survivor is hanged in the public park.

By the end of the story, Randy is virtually unrecognizable from his earlier self. A strong, decisive leader with the respect of his community Randy has truly redeemed himself.

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