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

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What were the challenges that John faced to find the truth in "By the Waters of Babylon"?

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One of the initial challenges that John faces is getting permission from his father to go on the journey in the first place. John has a dream and requests permission to go on his journey, but John's father could have forbade the journey in the first place. Additionally, there is reason to believe that John's father knows that John is asking to go east, and that is why his father emphasizes that it is forbidden to go east; nevertheless, John's father gives permission for John to begin his journey.

Another challenge that John faces is overcoming his own fears. John has been told his entire life that going east is forbidden. He knows that he is doing something that his society forbids, yet he does it anyway. John has also been raised to believe that if he goes to the Place of the Gods, he will surely die. John knowingly leaves to go east to the Place of the Gods, and he fully believes that he is going to die. He is terrified of this outcome, yet he goes anyway.

Now I go to the Place of the...

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