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

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Susan Woodward eNotes educator| Certified Educator

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 that some destruction has taken place, although John does not understand the truth about the Place of the Gods at this point.  All he sees are broken roads, and he wonders why such a mystical place (according to the priests of his village) is not "covered with fogs and enchantments".  As he proceeds to journey through the Place of the Gods, he becomes disillusioned with what he has always been taught, and he eventually realizes that these "gods" were mere men who were destroyed by their own technology.  This is an apocalyptic story that reveals the end of the modern world (as seen through the destruction of New York City) and the rebirth of a new society.  However, when John realizes that the gods he's always heard of were men, he also realizes that his people are capable of the same fate.  Therefore, he (with the advice of his father) witholds the truth from his people so as not to destroy their faith. 

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By the Waters of Babylon

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