What two things does John see in the house of gods?

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Susan Hurn eNotes educator| Certified Educator

What John calls the house of the gods is an apartment in New York that still holds the furnishings of the people who once lived in it. John notices many things in the apartment, many of them unknown to him and beyond his understanding. As he walks through the rooms, he notices chairs "soft and deep," rugs, and various wall hangings. One picture he describes in detail that indicates it is an oil painting. He also notices a sculpture of a bird sitting on a table. He finds the "washing place" (a bathroom), but there is no water, of course. He also finds the kitchen (the "cooking place"). John also observes lamps and a fireplace. These are the material objects he finds in the house of the gods.

While he is there, however, John also "sees" two sights as he experiences a vision while standing at a window looking out over the city at night. In his vision, he first sees the great city as it had once existed, full of people, traffic, light, and energy. While he watches, he then sees the destruction of the city during a great war, with "fire falling out of the sky" and "a mist that poisoned." John's two visions make him understand who the gods had really been and what had happened to them.

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By the Waters of Babylon

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