The Cold War On American Soil

1607 Words7 Pages
When Randy picks up Helen and her children, he notices that his niece and nephew are far more accepting of nuclear annihilation then the older generation. He tells Helen, "Maybe one day I 'll get conditioned. I 'll accept things, like the children" (Frank 85). Randy is commenting on the effect that the political climate of the time has on the children. Frank wrote the novel in the 1950 's, a time when the U.S. was engaged in the Cold War with the Soviet Union. Most likely, Peyton and Benjamin grew up surrounded by discussion and predictions of nuclear warfare. Today 's children have grown up in a post 9/11 world similarly surrounded by fear mongering. Like Peyton and Benjamin, we have grown up in an era that is shaped by an event. While…show more content…
On the other hand, Helen clings to the hope that the Hole was safe. The children have the ability to analyze military events and project the impact that they will have on their lives. Benjamin predicts the events in the eastern Mediterranean will start a nuclear war. When Peyton calls her mother 'Mommy, ' you realize how young she is. It 's moments like that, that make the reader question whether the kids should be so aware of the events going on around them. Today often times on the news, we 'll see kids being interviewed at refugee camps in Syria. There is that same degree of precociousness that Helen saw in her kids reflected in the lives of children suffering because of political turmoil. Throughout the novel, it 's a little unsettling how readily the children adapt other new world. Some of the characters ' deaths are dehumanized and readers feel detached from them. For example, Marks death is readily accepted by Benjamin and Frank uses little time to process it. Mark dies in Omaha with millions of others in a nuclear attack, and so his death is passed off as a statistic. In contrast, Malachi dies right in front of the reader and so his death is more humanized. Although Frank acknowledges that the children are more inured to tragedy than their parents, he takes time to remind the readers that they are still children and should not be exposed to such realities.

Assignment 2
Pat Frank wrote Alas, Babylon
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