The tenacity of the human spirit is a major theme presented by Pat Frank in Alas, Babylon. The novel reveals the pioneer spirit of Fort Repose, a small town in Florida after atomic warfare devastates the surrounding areas. The citizens of Fort Repose learn to live without technology, create a sustainable food source, and maintain law and order.
Dan Gunn, the town doctor, believed that Fort Repose as well as his close friend Randall Bragg had the spirit and drive to overcome this difficult situation:
"Some nations and some people come apart like fat in the pan. Others meet the challenge and harden. I think you’re going to harden.” (111)
Dan Gunn says this to Randy, but the quote equally represents the people of Fort Repose and Americans in general. While showing humanity at its worst through examples of highwaymen and nuclear holocaust, Pat Frank also portrays the very best facets of human character--compassion and a determination to survive against all odds.