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What is the theme of "By the Waters of Babylon"?

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deeh993 | Student, Grade 10 | eNotes Newbie

Posted October 16, 2008 at 8:28 AM via web

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What is the theme of "By the Waters of Babylon"?

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ladyvols1 | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

Posted October 16, 2008 at 10:38 AM (Answer #1)

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Benét had, at the time of writing “By the Waters of Babylon”, recently lived through the Great Depression and our country was rapidly rushing toward World War II.  The ability to split atoms was assurance to the public of America, but was frightening for Benét. With this story, Benét questioned the ethics of such a war, and inspired a lot of readers to oppose it.

Benét went deeper than the mere ethics of war. He dug down deeply into an age-old topic; the acquisition and use of intelligence, technology, and common sense. It has been stated that, “knowledge is power,” but isn’t it also stated. “That a little knowledge is a dangerous thing?”

The theme has been used many times.  Mankind and our desire to control the planet will bring us to our destruction.  The memory of World War I was fresh in his mind and the country was heading toward another war.  The concern with competition between national powers and the new technology of the bomb was fertile ground for this story. 

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brucea | Student , Grade 11 | eNoter

Posted October 17, 2008 at 1:36 AM (Answer #2)

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A journey to the unknown to find out the truth that was called the place of the gods. John wanted to gain more knowledge of what the truth was so he travels to this place only to find out what he was led to believe was untrue.

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w1ck3d | Student , Grade 10 | eNotes Newbie

Posted March 11, 2009 at 8:51 AM (Answer #4)

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afkojqweififjewio: Could* Learn to spell before you start insulting people. Good job, I win.

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broncosprinter100 | Student , Grade 9 | eNoter

Posted April 20, 2009 at 12:27 AM (Answer #5)

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what is seen the theme as is ''the human quest for knowledge is sometimes dangerous but cannot be extinguished". I see this being the main theme by how many dangerous events he puts him self through. to see this it took me about 3 times i had to re read the story

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kam44 | Student | eNoter

Posted September 13, 2011 at 9:08 AM (Answer #6)

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Civilazationsare are cyclical (rise and fall.)

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