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

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What are some examples of figurative language and/or imagery in By the Waters of Babylon? How are they effectively used?

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An issue that is inextricably interwined with imagery is the mode of narration in this story. Part of the secret of this story's greatness is the fact that it is told to us using the first person point of view, which means we are not given the setting of the story straight away, but rather have to work it out from the tantalising clues we are provided with. The imagery used in this story supports this narrative function of presenting us with a naive, young narrator who is overwhelmed with awe at what he witnesses and is not able to comprehend the truth of what he sees because of his primitive background and his lack of understanding of science.

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