In "By the Waters of Babylon," what three clues does the author give to the identity of the Place of the Gods?

Expert Answers
Susan Hurn eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There are numerous clues throughout the story that the Place of the Gods is New York City. John, the narrator, speaks of Ou-dis-sun, the Sacred, the Long, a reference to the Hudson River. His references to "Licoln" and "Biltmore" suggest perhaps Lincoln Center and the Biltmore Hotel. The narrator finds a stone among broken stones with the letters "UBTREAS" carved into it. This stands for SUBTREASURY. John finds a statue of a man with his hair tied back "like a woman's." His name is "ASHING," a fragment of George Washington's name. John's reference to a great temple with many caves and tunnels is a description of Grand Central Station.  When John returns to his tribe, he identifies the Place of the Gods as "the place newyork."

Many other descriptive passages imply a huge city that has been destroyed. There are broken "god-roads" (highways) and tall towers (skyscrapers), some still standing. The "bitter waters" are the Atlantic Ocean with its salty water. The "Great Burning" when "fire fell out of the sky" suggests a nuclear attack that left a great "Dead Place," a city once buried under radioactive material but now safe to enter

Read the study guide:
By the Waters of Babylon

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question