One of Randy Bragg's main character traits is his high moral code and belief in law and order. The bombing forces him to look harder at his moral code:
“Yesterday, he would have stopped instantly. When there was an accident, and someone was hurt, a man stopped. But yesterday was a past period in history, with laws and rules archaic as ancient Rome’s…. With the use of the hydrogen bomb, the Christian era was dead, and with it must die the tradition of the good Samaritan.” (84)
In this quote, Randy realizes that civilization is dying all around him; even though, he knows he should not stop for the traffic accident in this scene from the novel, he still reflects on the importance of retaining a strong moral code. He ends up pulling over to help. His desire to keep the best traits of humanity alive is one of his most defining character traits.
How could life go on if dollars were worthless? How could anybody live without dollars, or credit, or both? … This was the end. Civilization was crushed.” (103)
This really is the perfect quote for Edgar, the materialist bank president of Fort Repose. His entire identity was bound up in his profession and the stock market; when he ponders the loss of the value of the dollar, Edgar is really thinking about the loss of value in his own life, now rendered meaningless by the bombing.
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 doctor as well. Dan Gunn faces challenges throughout the novel, having to make do with medicine shortages and even overcoming a vicious beating from the highwaymen, but through it all he remains optimistic and determined to help people in need.