man standing off to the side looking down at a marble bust of another man laying atop a pile of broken columns

By the Waters of Babylon

by Stephen Vincent Benét

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What are the major events in "By the Waters of Babylon"?

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John and his father go to the Dead Places.  John's father comes out with a piece of metal and hands it to John.  John doesn't die, so he get to become a priest. 

John learns a lot of stuff.  How to heal wounds and how to read are among the most important. He gets to go the Dead Places by himself and see what houses used to look like before the Great Burning. 

John leaves for his journey.  He kills a panther with one arrow and takes it as a sign that he must travel east. 

He travels east to the Hudson river. He then sees the Place of the Gods.  

John builds a raft and heads toward the Place of the Gods (New York City).

He explores a lot and runs away from some dogs.  

"I had just found a door I could open when the dogs decided to rush. Ha! They were surprised when I shut the door in their faces—it was a good door, of strong metal. I could hear their foolish baying beyond it but I did not stop to answer them."

John hides from the dogs inside of an apartment of some kind. He explores it, but he doesn't understand much of what he is looking at.

John falls asleep and has a dream/vision of what life was like in the great city before it was destroyed.  

John wakes up and sees a dead guy.  He finally understands that the gods were normal men and women.  

John returns to his tribe.  He tells his father what he saw.  His father says that the tribe isn't ready for the truth.  John vows to help them understand. 

"He was right—it is better the truth should come little by little."

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