How did Benet know the effect of nuclear radiation? How did Benet know the effect of nuclear radiation given that his story, "By the Waters of Babylon," was written in 1937, eight years before...

How did Benet know the effect of nuclear radiation? 

How did Benet know the effect of nuclear radiation given that his story, "By the Waters of Babylon," was written in 1937, eight years before Hiroshima?

Expert Answers
ladyvols1 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Benet would not have to have seen a nuclear attack to know the effects of radiation.  The story, "By The Waters of Babylon," is a cautionary tale of what could happen to the world if mankind continued dabbling in the creation of the atomic bomb.  The research was already out there, countries were fighting to see who could create the most viable weapon first.  Tests were being done and the media, government, and researchers were aware of the possible effects of radiation poisoning.

The story reveals a world that has already been ravaged by the effects of an atomic explosion.  It speaks directly to the fears that many people of Benet’s era had about the use of nuclear weapons and our fears were proven true by the bombing of Hiroshima.  Just as Bradbury’s “There Will Come Soft Rains,” is a warning about our dependence on machines and nuclear power so is Benet’s story of a lost civilization.

"Writing two years before World War II began, with a sure sense of the destructiveness of World War I and a fear of the new technological might that would be unleashed in a second world war, Benét envisions the possibility of people bombing themselves back to the Stone Age."

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By the Waters of Babylon

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