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

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What was the Great Burning in "By the Waters of Babylon?"

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At the beginning of “By the Waters of Babylon,” we do not really know what the Great Burning was in any precise way. However, near the end of the story, we find out that the Great Burning was some kind of war involving extremely destructive, high-tech weapons.

At the start of the story, we are told that there was something called the Great Burning.  But at that point, all we know is that it destroyed the Place of the Gods.  It is clear that the Great Burning was something terrible, but we do not know what it was.

Later in the story, John gets to...

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