What is the exposition of the story "By the Waters of Babylon"?

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mr-robitaille's profile pic

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The story's exposition is found in the details that the author uses to reveal where and when the story takes place. Based on the narrator's observations, the reader is able to infer that he is actually in New York City. For instance, he sees a statue of George Washington, but all he sees of the name is the "ASHING." He sees the subtreasury building, but all he sees of the name is "UBTREAS." He also sees the Biltmore Hotel, and remnants of modern technology such as hot and cold faucets. The reader is also able to infer that there has been a nuclear holocaust, based on the narrator's stories of a "Great Burning." This gradual revelation is the story's exposition.

sciftw's profile pic

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In literature, the exposition is the introduction of certain details to the reader. In a typical plot chart the exposition comes first, and it is followed by the rising action, the climax, the falling action, and the conclusion. The exposition, then, is the part of the story where the characters are introduced, some background is explained, and the setting is described.

Unfortunately, the exposition of "By the Waters of Babylon" is incredibly vague. My students do not like reading this story because it is so confusing at first. The reader has no real idea where the story occurs geographically or even whether or not the story is taking place in the past or in the future. The only definitive detail that the exposition contains is that the story's protagonist is named John. His father is a priest, and John is in training to be a priest, because he held some metal and didn't die.

As John discovers things, the reader discovers more details about the setting. The story takes place in the far future, and the location is in what is now New York.

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jaguar174's profile pic

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the bombing of the city

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