Alas, Babylon

by: Pat Frank

Chapters 7–8

Summary Chapters 7–8

The primitive market on the town green illustrates how, in the post-war world, new customs develop. The demise of the cash economy means that the town of Fort Repose returns to the barter system that characterized human societies in primitive eras. Luxuries, like tobacco, coffee, and alcohol, become tremendously valuable, since there is no prospect of any of these items becoming available again. The discovery of the radioactive jewelry is at once a reminder of the continuing danger from nuclear fallout, and a miniature morality play. Instead of focusing on cooperation and survival, Porky Logan and the people to whom he gives jewelry are trying to profit off the disaster by accumulating riches. The radiation poisoning is their punishment for the sin of greed, as the beautiful objects are tainted.