Questions and Answers for By the Waters of Babylon

By the Waters of Babylon

What is the importance of the title "By the Waters of Babylon," and what is the problem with the Forest People?

The phrase "by the waters of Babylon" is an allusion to Psalm 137, in which the Israelites mourn their exile from Jerusalem and weep over their memory of their lost homeland. The waters of Babylon...

Latest answer posted September 25, 2020 11:04 am UTC

4 educator answers

By the Waters of Babylon

In the story "By the Waters of Babylon," how does John view the world, and how do we know? Explain.

John's view of the world changes as he progresses through his journey. When the story first begins, John accepts the world as it has been taught to him. He accepts the rules of his society, and...

Latest answer posted March 22, 2016 10:09 pm UTC

1 educator answer

By the Waters of Babylon

What is the setting of "By the Waters of Babylon" by Stephen Vincent Benét?

"By the Waters of Babylon" has two settings. The entire story takes place in the future, after a nuclear holocaust has destroyed the advanced technological civilization of people like us. The...

Latest answer posted September 28, 2018 5:24 pm UTC

2 educator answers

By the Waters of Babylon

What are some literary elements in "By the Waters of Babylon" by Stephen Vincent Benet?

This story is recounted in the first person by a young man living in a simple, post-apocalyptic society. His people, the Hill People, appear to make a living by hunting, gathering, and animal...

Latest answer posted October 12, 2016 7:13 pm UTC

2 educator answers

By the Waters of Babylon

In "By the Waters of Babylon," what are 5 things John sees in the place of the gods?  

In this story, the "Place of the Gods" refers to the ruins of New York City. John sees many things that had been produced by the ancients, including both large, structural features, and small,...

Latest answer posted October 15, 2016 8:58 pm UTC

2 educator answers

By the Waters of Babylon

In "By the Waters of Babylon," what is John really seeing when he talks about the god-roads, the caves, and the tunnels?

The things that John is really seeing are remnants of the once-bustling city of New York. We know that John crosses the Hudson to get to a city with tall buildings, and before even seeing the city...

Latest answer posted September 22, 2016 1:31 pm UTC

2 educator answers

By the Waters of Babylon

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

I would argue that the main theme in "By the Waters of Babylon" is the thirst for knowledge. Unlike other members of the Hill People community, our protagonist, John, is dissatisfied with the rule...

Latest answer posted October 1, 2020 3:29 pm UTC

4 educator answers

By the Waters of Babylon

Who is Ashing in By the Waters of Babylon? By The Waters of Babylon

"Ashing" is the name on the base of the statue of one of the "gods" in the Place of the Gods, the forbidden and mysterious goal of the main character in the post-apocalyptic short story written by...

Latest answer posted October 7, 2009 3:57 am UTC

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By the Waters of Babylon

What does UBTREAS mean in "By the Waters of Babylon"? John finds this at some broken columns and he could...

UBTREAS is part of a broken sign that once said SUBTREASURY. John encounters it when he's exploring New York City in Stephen Vincent Benét's "By the Waters of Babylon." When John ventures into New...

Latest answer posted November 1, 2017 12:56 pm UTC

3 educator answers

By the Waters of Babylon

What is the meaning of the title of the story "By the Waters of Babylon," and how does it connect to the story?

The title of the story is an allusion to Psalm 137 from the Bible. By the waters, the waters of BabylonWe sat down and wept,and wept, for thee, Zion. The passage is a lament by the Israelite...

Latest answer posted September 23, 2016 12:31 am UTC

3 educator answers

By the Waters of Babylon

In "By the Waters of Babylon," how does the first-person point of view affect what the reader knows about John and...

The story's being narrated in the first person means that readers only know what John chooses to tell us or show us. As readers, we are limited to John. We know his thoughts and emotions, but we...

Latest answer posted September 4, 2017 8:08 pm UTC

2 educator answers

By the Waters of Babylon

Are all three types of irony used in "By the Waters of Babylon"? Please give examples if they are.

First of all, we have situational irony in the story. This is where there's a gap between what we expect to happen and what actually does happen. In By the Waters of Babylon we are surprised to...

Latest answer posted May 27, 2020 11:33 am UTC

4 educator answers

By the Waters of Babylon

In "By the Waters of Babylon" by Stephen Vincent Benét, what was the Place of the Gods?

The Place of the Gods was a great city of great "magic" that existed generations ago and that John's people, the "People of the Hills," now revere as sacred. The name of this place, which John's...

Latest answer posted September 23, 2016 1:19 am UTC

2 educator answers

By the Waters of Babylon

What does the "Great Burning" refer to? 

The Great Burning was a nuclear war that destroyed the huge city known by John as the Place of the Gods. There are several clues we can use to infer this from the story. First of all, the metal...

Latest answer posted March 5, 2016 3:25 am UTC

1 educator answer

By the Waters of Babylon

What are the dead places and the place of the gods in "By the Waters of Babylon?"

The Dead Places and Places of the Gods are cities where humans lived before the apocalypse. There was some kind of apocalyptic event, which is known as the Great Burning. It was probably some kind...

Latest answer posted September 25, 2015 11:30 pm UTC

1 educator answer

By the Waters of Babylon

In "By the Waters of Babylon", what are three things John finds in the "Place of the Gods" and...

As John crosses the forbidden river of to "the Place of the Gods, with its “bitter waters,” he is actually crossing the Hudson River (“Oudis-sun”); the “god-roads ”he has followed were originally...

Latest answer posted September 21, 2008 2:26 am UTC

1 educator answer

By the Waters of Babylon

What were the plot conflicts in "By the Waters of Babylon"?  

There are many conflicts throughout this short story. One of the first conflicts that readers encounter is the conflict that John has within himself. He feels a deep desire and pull to go east,...

Latest answer posted June 12, 2017 1:42 pm UTC

2 educator answers

By the Waters of Babylon

In "By The Waters of Babylon" what is the tone and mood of the story?

It has almost a fable-like mood to it, like someone is telling a tale or a story to small children around the kindergarten rug. Simple language is used, which is consistent with the tribe-like...

Latest answer posted March 16, 2009 12:34 pm UTC

1 educator answer

By the Waters of Babylon

3. At the end of the story, John’s father tells John, “Truth is a hard dear to hunt. If you eat too much truth at...

The quote from John's father is basically telling John to be careful with the truth. John has learned that the great city that he explored wasn't inhabited by gods. It was inhabited by normal men...

Latest answer posted December 29, 2017 3:58 pm UTC

1 educator answer

By the Waters of Babylon

"Eating Knowledge Too Fast"? From "The Waters of Babylon," what does John mean by "perhaps the olden...

"Eating knowledge too fast" is an excellent metaphorical description of the failings of mankind in the dystopian world of this short story. It brings to mind a picture of someone absolutely...

Latest answer posted April 26, 2010 9:28 am UTC

2 educator answers

By the Waters of Babylon

In "By the Waters of Babylon" what does John tell readers about the Forest People?

John uses the Forest People as a standard by which to judge his own group, the Hill People. While humanity seems to have become more primal since the nuclear holocaust that wiped out civilization,...

Latest answer posted May 29, 2020 11:37 pm UTC

3 educator answers

By the Waters of Babylon

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

I've seen support for two possible climax locations in "By the Waters of Babylon." They happen just about at the same time chronologically, so I don't feel that there is much difference between the...

Latest answer posted September 26, 2016 1:41 pm UTC

2 educator answers

By the Waters of Babylon

What was the Great Burning in "By the Waters of Babylon?"

At the beginning of “By the Waters of Babylon,” we do not really know what the Great Burning was in any precise way. However, near the end of the story, we find out that the Great Burning was some...

Latest answer posted January 15, 2016 7:22 pm UTC

1 educator answer

By the Waters of Babylon

By The Waters Of Babylon Allusion

An allusion is a reference to something famous. It can be a poem, a piece of art, an event or in this case a location. The allusion in this title is the name of an ancient city, Babylon. This city...

Latest answer posted October 3, 2010 6:52 am UTC

2 educator answers

By the Waters of Babylon

What does John see in his vision-dream in "By the Waters of by Babylon?"

John saw a vision of the Dead Place where the gods walked that used to be New York. John’s world is one that exists in a post-apocalyptic version of Earth, after the Great Burning. It is never...

Latest answer posted October 9, 2015 10:54 pm UTC

1 educator answer

By the Waters of Babylon

What are the major events of By the Waters of Babylon by Stephen Vincent Benet?

John and his father go to the Dead Places. John's father comes out with a piece of metal and hands it to John. John doesn't die, so he get to become a priest. John learns a lot of stuff. How to...

Latest answer posted October 1, 2015 12:56 am UTC

1 educator answer

By the Waters of Babylon

What is the great river in "By the Waters of Babylon" by Stephen Vincent Benét?

The great river in the story "By the Waters of Babylon" is the Hudson River. The Hudson River is the river separating parts of New York from New Jersey. Most notably, the river separates...

Latest answer posted July 13, 2016 3:32 am UTC

1 educator answer

By the Waters of Babylon

In the story "By the Waters of Babylon," why does John set out on his journey, and why is it unusual?

John is the son of a priest; therefore, John is chosen to receive special treatment and training. As part of his education, John must go on a journey by himself. When I was a man at last, I came...

Latest answer posted September 20, 2016 1:19 pm UTC

2 educator answers

By the Waters of Babylon

Compare and contrast of imagery and figurative language between "The Bet", by Chekhov, and "By the waters of Babylon"...

Very interesting question. One of the things you will definitely want to focus on is how the figurative language used in "By the Waters of Babylon" reflects the speaker and his understanding of the...

Latest answer posted May 3, 2010 11:14 pm UTC

1 educator answer

By the Waters of Babylon

How would you describe John as a character in "By the Waters of Babylon"?

I would describe John as young. He refers to himself early in the story as the son of a priest. He thinks of himself, first, as somebody's son. I believe that makes John fairly young. I would...

Latest answer posted October 11, 2016 1:29 pm UTC

2 educator answers

By the Waters of Babylon

In "By the Waters of Babylon", what does John learn about the gods and why doesn't his dad want him to...

John learns that the gods "were men -- they went a dark road, but they were men". He realizes how advanced they were, but also how they destroyed each other. This is significant...

Latest answer posted January 2, 2009 2:24 pm UTC

1 educator answer

By the Waters of Babylon

Who are the gods in ''By the Waters of Babylon"?

Stephen Vincent Benét's short story "By the Waters of Babylon" examines a post-apocalyptic world in which "the hill people," the presumed survivors of some sort of devastating disaster, lead their...

Latest answer posted June 19, 2016 11:17 pm UTC

2 educator answers

By the Waters of Babylon

How is John able to cross the river in "By the Waters of Babylon"?

The river that John needs to cross to complete his quest is clearly a source of fear and trepidation for him. When he first comes across the river, his description of it makes clear his awe and...

Latest answer posted March 21, 2009 11:10 am UTC

1 educator answer

By the Waters of Babylon

What three things are forbidden in "By the Waters of Babylon" by Stephen Vincent Benet?  

The three things that John and members of his society have forbidden are named in the very first paragraph of the story. It is forbidden to go east. It is forbidden to go to the Dead Places...

Latest answer posted April 18, 2016 2:12 am UTC

2 educator answers

By the Waters of Babylon

What new goal does John set for the Hill People after he returns home?

When John returns from the Place of the Gods, he tells his father all about his journey and is anxious to tell the other Hill people. His father, however, convinces him that there is a reason why...

Latest answer posted March 5, 2016 2:49 am UTC

1 educator answer

By the Waters of Babylon

Who is the antagonist in "By the Waters of Babylon"? What is the setting?

When you first start reading this story, you have no idea what the setting is. All you can really tell (you think) is that it is set in the past -- in a time when people were fairly primitive....

Latest answer posted September 12, 2010 12:32 pm UTC

2 educator answers

By the Waters of Babylon

In "By the Waters of Babylon", what happend to the city that John calls "the Place of the Gods"?

In "By the Waters of Babylon", the Place of the Gods is really what is left of New York City after it was bombed. Man's technology eventually led to the destruction of the modern world,...

Latest answer posted October 13, 2008 11:20 am UTC

1 educator answer

By the Waters of Babylon

Explain the quotation: "Truth is a hard deer to hunt. If you eat too much truth at once, you may die of the truth."

John has returned from the Place of the Gods—what we would understand as New York City—having realized that it was built by men, not gods. This revelation excites him as it means his people, too,...

Latest answer posted April 19, 2019 9:19 pm UTC

2 educator answers

By the Waters of Babylon

At what point in the story does the reader begin to figure out what the Place of Gods is in "By the Waters of Babylon"?

Almost immediately, Benet gives his readers hints as to what is going on in the Dead Place or the Place of the Gods. When he mentions the metal that only a priest can touch because it kills, the...

Latest answer posted March 3, 2016 4:47 pm UTC

1 educator answer

By the Waters of Babylon

What is the setting of "By the Waters of Babylon?" I would like to know where exactly the story was happening...

This is a tough question. The narrator, John, does not give specific names to the locations that he is travelling through. The story takes place in the future, likely after some kind of nuclear...

Latest answer posted February 23, 2016 2:49 pm UTC

2 educator answers

By the Waters of Babylon

What is the rising action in the story "By the Waters of Babylon" ? Please include the narrative hook.

Rising action is slightly misleading because it is singular. A story's rising action usually refers to a series of events; therefore, rising action is usually comprised of many events that lead up...

Latest answer posted September 18, 2018 12:33 pm UTC

2 educator answers

By the Waters of Babylon

What are three important quotes from "By the Waters of Babylon" by Stephen Vincent Benét?

I like the second sentence of the story for a good quote. It is forbidden to go to any of the Dead Places except to search for metal and then he who touches the metal must be a priest or the son...

Latest answer posted August 30, 2016 12:58 am UTC

1 educator answer

By the Waters of Babylon

From what point-of-view is "By the Waters of Babylon" written? How do you know? 

The narrative point of view of "By the Waters of Babylon" is first person. Readers get their first bit of evidence of the story's point of view in the first paragraph. The narrator, who we...

Latest answer posted December 28, 2017 1:52 am UTC

3 educator answers

By the Waters of Babylon

What are John's conflicts in "By the Waters of Babylon " and how did he solve them?

To me, this story is about the conflict between truth, as it is found in the stories and legends that shape a culture, and the desire to learn new things, even at the risk of undermining "truth" as...

Latest answer posted June 12, 2017 12:02 pm UTC

2 educator answers

By the Waters of Babylon

What mysterious objects has John seen in "By the Waters of Babylon"?

John's innoeent and somewhat naive perspective in "By the Waters of Babylon" forces reader to eye his journey through the fallen remains of our own modern society through a fresh pair of eyes. John...

Latest answer posted October 17, 2012 3:22 am UTC

2 educator answers

By the Waters of Babylon

What does John's father tell him about his dream? What do these words reveal about the reason it is forbidden to...

On the surface, John's father says very little about the dream, and his words seem to send a mixed message: John should follow his intuition about the dream, yet remember that travelling east is...

Latest answer posted August 12, 2017 6:04 am UTC

2 educator answers

By the Waters of Babylon

List at least three symbols in "By the Waters of Babylon" and explain what they mean.

Probably my favorite symbolic image from this story is the Place of the Gods. I like this symbolic image because it changes its symbolism at the end of the story. For most of the story, the Place...

Latest answer posted September 27, 2017 8:22 pm UTC

2 educator answers

By the Waters of Babylon

In "By the Waters of Babylon", what does John say about the god roads?

In "By the Waters of Babylon", when John enters the Place of the Gods, he notices that "everywhere in it there are god-roads, though most are cracked and broken." This shows...

Latest answer posted October 1, 2008 11:44 pm UTC

1 educator answer

By the Waters of Babylon

In "By the Waters of Babylon," why do you think John's father allows him to travel to the place of the gods even...

First, there are clues that John's father is interested in secular learning, and that his private positions on religious matters are not the same as his public positions. This suggests that he may...

Latest answer posted October 14, 2016 3:47 am UTC

1 educator answer

By the Waters of Babylon

How does John escape from the wild dogs?

John escapes from the wild dogs by running into a tower and slamming the door shut. He tells us that the wild dogs are extremely dangerous, for they hunt in a pack. Without a weapon, one is...

Latest answer posted August 10, 2018 8:12 pm UTC

2 educator answers

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