In "By the Waters of Babylon," what dose the number three and the color white symbolize?

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accessteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

This section of this excellent short story comes when John, the protagonist of the tale, is seeking a sign to confirm that he should continue on his journey heading east. Because of his desire to gain a sign, he fasts and remains incredibly still, until he sees the following sign:

Then three dear passed in the valley, going east--they did not wind me or see me. There was a white fawn with them--a very great sign.

Although the narrator does not go on to explain why the number three and the colour white are significant, we can infer that in this dystopian world some remnants of our civilisation have been passed down through the ages. For us in our civilisation the number three is symbolic of the trinity and divine completeness. Likewise we associate white with purity and innocence. We can assume that some of these symbolic meanings have reached John's civilisation, and that therefore from their perspective, the number three and the colour white have become good omens in the primeval world that they live in.

publicspeaker | Student

3-Is the number of personal completeness, It is the number of the Godhead,it stands for the triune God. It is formed by 1 plus 1 plus plus 1. But if the 1's are multplied, the result is still 1. So that God is 3in1 and 1 and 3. In geometry two lines do not make a cube. Hence 2 is an incomplete number while 3 is the first complete number. It therefore represents God. 3 is also a number of resurrection, The Lord Jesus is resurrected on the third day. Jonah was in the belly of the fish for 3 days. The restoration of the nation of Israel is also connected with the numeral 3.This number 3 is frequently related to God, the triune is used in the baptizism, The Lord Jesus was tempted 3 times, He prayed in the garden 3 times, he asked Peter 3 times if he loved him and to feed his sheep.When God judged mans sin in Chirst Jesus the heavens and the earth were dark for 3 hrs.

White is purity, cleanliness, and innocence. Like black, white goes well with almost any color. Nature of White: To the human eye, white is a brilliant color that can cause headaches for some. Too much bright white can be blinding. Culture of White: In most Western countries white is the color for brides. In the East, it's the color for mourning and funerals. White is often associated with hospitals, especially doctors, nurses, and dentists. Some cultures viewed white as the color of royalty or of dieties. Angels are typically depicted as wearing white. In early Westerns the good guy wore white while the bad guy wore black. Using White: In most cases white is seen as a neutral background color and other colors, even when used in smaller proportion, are the colors that convey the most meaning in a design. Use white to signify cleanliness or purity or softness. Some neutral beige, ivory, and creams carry the same attributes as white but are more subdued, less brilliant than plain white. Use lots of white for a summery look. Use small amounts of white to soften a wintery palette or suggest snow.

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By the Waters of Babylon

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