What literary vision is used in the story "By the Waters of Babylon?"

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Susan Hurn eNotes educator| Certified Educator

When John sleeps in what was once an apartment in New York, he awakes during the night and experiences an out-of-body vision. John knows "I was seeing the city as it had been when the gods were alive."As he stands at a window and looks out over the city, he describes what he sees: "Everywhere there were lights--lines of light--circles and blurs of light . . . The sky itself was alight." As he watches the vision before him, John sees New York City as it had been before the destruction, huge and vibrant, noisy and crowded with people. People hurried about, John observed. They drove through tunnels and flew in the sky. He feels there was nothing they could not do.

Then John's vision turns dark as he watches the destruction of the city: "I saw their fate come upon them and that was terrible past speech." He describes "fire falling out of the sky and a mist that poisoned" as the people ran in terror, trying to escape as the city fell down around them. John says he saw the last of them die. "It was darkness over the broken city and I wept."