In "By the Waters of Babylon," why does the author choose John to narrate the story and events through his eyes?In the beginning I thought it was the author narrating the story but then I...

In "By the Waters of Babylon," why does the author choose John to narrate the story and events through his eyes?

In the beginning I thought it was the author narrating the story but then I realized that the author tells the story through John's eyes. What does John have that makes him so special?

Asked on by jacm

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ms-mcgregor's profile pic

ms-mcgregor | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

The author uses the first person point-of-view in order to limit our knowledge. We know only what John tells us as he makes his journey to the Place of the Gods. Consequently, we, like John, are confronted with a mystery to solve. We share John's immediate experience and feelings but we know only what he knows. As the story progresses, the point-of-view allows us to develop a sense of intimacy with John, as if he was talking directly to us. However, when we apply our own knowledge to the objects and places John finds, we begin to know what John is really seeing before he does. When John says, " Perhaps, in the old days, they ate knowledge too fast," the irony is more poignant for the reader, knowing what that knowledge was and how it destroyed the people of that society, than for John.

brucea's profile pic

brucea | Student, Grade 11 | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted on

So it will show us how things are going through Johns perspective since hes the one going through everything. The reason he is so important is he goes all the way when the other people couldnt.

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