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

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What are four clues throughout the story "By the Waters of Babylon" that suggest the setting of the story is New York, sometime in the future after a nuclear war?

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Four clues to a nuclear event in New York are that the metal is dangerous, there are many Dead Places within eight days, John calls it newyork, and the "gods" died in everyday positions.

The first hint that the story takes place in a post-apocalyptic version of our world is the reference to metal.  We are told that there is metal in the houses of the gods, and that the metal is dangerous.  John’s people salvage the metal. 

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 of a priest. Afterwards, both the man and the metal must be purified. 

Clearly, we have metal all over our own houses.  It also makes sense that the...

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