What was the relationship between John and his father like in "By the Waters of Babylon"?

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mrs-campbell eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The relationship that John has with his father seems to be one that is founded in respect, trust, honesty and affection.  We learn at the beginning that John went on excursions with his father, and that though he was afraid, he tried to appear brave, because "it is not fitting that a priest's son should show fear."  This indicates that he respected his father and his father's position and didn't want to shame him.  In order for that to happen, he had to love his father.  His father then returned that love, trust and respect by allowing the very young John to touch the forbidden metal.  He showed an act of faith and respect in letting John do that, reciprocating the reverence that John had shown him.

John's father also trusts him to go on the spirit journey.  Even though John had dreamed of the forbidden lands, he still told his dad about it, which shows that he loved and trusted his father.  When John returns from his journey, the very first thing that he does is go to his father to tell him what had happened.  This shows that he loved his father and valued his opinion enough to turn to him in confusion.  His father, after hearing of the journey, did not chastise John for breaking rules, but respected his decisions and even supported them.  He then offered wise advice, which John took.

The relationship between these two characters is based on trust, love, respect and mutual affection.  I hope that helped; good luck!

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By the Waters of Babylon

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