In By the Waters of Babylon, how do John's childhood experiences prepare him to take his dangerous journey?

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John's childhood experiences prepared him for his journey, because his experiences as a child gave him privileged knowledge and training.  John is the son of a priest, which means that John is automatically in line to be a possible priest himself.  He is the only one of his brothers to pass their father's test for priesthood.  The test is simple.  Go with father to the Dead Places.  Don't run away in fear.  Hold a piece of metal and not die. John passed the test, and began training to be a priest.  

John is now an elevated member of his society, so he gets the best cuts of meat and good shelter.  

After that, they gave me the good piece of meat and the warm corner of the fire.

The most important part of his training was his experiences at the Dead Places.  As a future priest, John was allowed to explore the homes in the Dead Places.  He became familiar with things he would see on his journey into New York.  Those things no longer inspired fear in him.  

So I learned the ways of those houses—and if I saw bones, I was no longer afraid.

John also received basic medical training, which would aid him if he got hurt. 

—l was taught how to stop the running of blood from a wound and many secrets.

Lastly, John was taught how to read.  That didn't help him for most of his journey in and through New York, but it will be invaluable in teaching his people about all of the lost knowledge that he found in New York.  It is John's goal to help rebuild mankind's greatness.  He can't do that without reading. 

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