Can anyone help me describe John as a character, from the story "By the Waters of Babylon"?Keep in mind the following as you answer: · The way he uses language- · His determination to finish his...

Can anyone help me describe John as a character, from the story "By the Waters of Babylon"?

Keep in mind the following as you answer:

· The way he uses language-

· His determination to finish his journey and complete his rite of passage

· The importance he gives to knowledge

· What he means by “It is better to lose one’s life than one’s spirit”

His statement “We must build again”

Asked on by allison12

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mrs-campbell's profile pic

mrs-campbell | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

John is a very mature person, wise beyond his years.  He recognizes that even though society has been built up once and destroyed, that if they take things slowly, and are careful and keep perspective, you can indeed "built again" as he so desires.  He is also very patient though; he gets back after his journey, bursting with his new information, wanting so badly to share his good news.  But, he takes the advice of his father, and decides "it is better for truth to come little by little," and goes on to "make a beginning."  So, with his insight and patience, he begins to enlighten the members of his tribe, and hopes to be able to use the information wisely.

John is also respectful, yet inquisitive.  He tries, in all that he does, to respect the traditions of his fathers, but branches off on his own, when he feels it is the right thing.  He is curious and inquisitive, wanting to know more about the past.  Every step he takes though, he justifies it through the framework of what is sacred, so he remains respectful.  He is also brave; as he forges onward, past boundaries, into forbidden territory, he fights off wild beasts, passes the Forest People, and goes into a strange land where everything is unfamiliar.  His bravery leads him to profound truths that change his entire perspective.

John is true to his spirit-he follows its promptings, even if that leads it into territory that is dangerous or forbidden.  He would rather be true to his spirit than to turn back and forever regret not following its urgings to learn more.  When he gains knowledge, he treats it respectfully--he doesn't just dismiss it, or blab it to everyone, he tries to understand it, and dispense it in the wisest way possible.

Those are just a few descriptions of John, and I hope that they can help to get you started; good luck!

shadychick28's profile pic

shadychick28 | Student, Grade 10 | eNotes Newbie

Posted on

John is a strong and an independent young man.  He makes me think of a Native American by the way he talks and acts.  he knows the land and aniamls.

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