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

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

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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...

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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