In "By the Waters of Babylon" what are the skills reserved for the priests of the Hill People?Textual support.

Expert Answers
mrs-campbell eNotes educator| Certified Educator

One of the first things that John mentions ties into the contaminated metal that dots the landscape, probably a remnant of the nuclear war that annihilated most of civilization.  These pieces of metal probably retained a lot of radiation, so, John says, no one is allowed to touch them.  Unless of course, you are "a priest or the son of a priest."  Only they are allowed to take their chances on contaminated metal; as a result, they are the ones that "hunt" metal.  Also, John mentions that priests do the "chants and spells," one being how to stop the bleeding from a wound.  Another very significant one is that John is taught how to read "the old books" and "how to make the old writings."  Only priests do this, and John mentions how difficult--but worth it--that it is.  So, the Priests are the only ones who are literate.  John also takes a spirit journey, probably something reserved for the priests also, and it is this journey that leads to great discoveries that will change his life forever.

I hope that those thoughts helped; good luck!

omgcba1 | Student

The skills reserved are going to the Dead Places and getting metal, blessing the metals and all who go to the Dead Places.

Read the study guide:
By the Waters of Babylon

Access hundreds of thousands of answers with a free trial.

Start Free Trial
Ask a Question