By the Waters of Babylon Questions and Answers
by Stephen Vincent Benét

By the Waters of Babylon book cover
Start Your Free Trial

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

Expert Answers info

Jonathan Beutlich, M.A. eNotes educator | Certified Educator

briefcaseTeacher (K-12), Professional Writer

bookB.A. from Calvin University

bookM.A. from Dordt University


calendarEducator since 2014

write6,375 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, Science, and History

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 two moments.

The first possible climax location is when John is having his dream or vision about what New York looked like before it was destroyed. He sees it bustling with people/gods. The way that this part of the story is told feels rapid and exciting, which helps convey the idea that John is experiencing a sensory overload. This part of the story makes sense as a climax because of that fast pacing.  

There was a roaring in my ears like the rushing of rivers. Then my eyes grew used to the light and my ears to the sound. I knew that I was seeing the city as it had been when the gods were alive. . .  Restless, restless, were the gods and always in motion!

The second possible climax to this story happens moments after John's vision...

(The entire section contains 2 answers and 526 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now


Further Reading:

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

accessteacher eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2009

write13,728 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, Social Sciences, and History

check Approved by eNotes Editorial


englishclassisthedevil | Student

The most exciting part of this story is when the main character is seeing visions of the city being destroyed and its inhabitants being chased out and killed. That is the part when I realized that it was people that lived in the city. The picture in the book kinda helped a little too. lol