Complete summary of Stephen Vincent Benét’s By the Waters of Babylon. eNotes plot summaries cover all the significant action of By the Waters of Babylon. The great river in the story “By the Waters of Babylon” is the Hudson River. The Hudson River is the river separating parts of New York from New Jersey. This lesson provides a summary and analysis of Stephen Vincent Benet’s ‘By the Waters of Babylon.’ The story focuses on the dangers of knowledge.

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Once John gets to the Place of the Gods, he feels the energy and magic there.

By the Waters of Babylon

This page was last edited on 13 Decemberat Looking out on the city, John realizes that through some kind of powerful magic, he is seeing the city as it was in the Time of the Gods. Babyloj mighty temple it must have been, for the roof was painted like the sky at night with its stars—that much I could see, though the colors were faint and dim.

Both John and the reader begin to gather new knowledge. It seems that, in making his journey, John has re-written the laws of the tribe. We are not ignorant like the Forest People—our women spin wool on the wheel, waterss priests wear a white robe. They ran about like ants in the streets of their city—poor gods, poor gods! As he explores the apartment, John finds the dead god sitting in a chair by the window, as if he is looking out over the city.

That was bwnet to what came afterward but it made my heart feel big. He takes this as a sign that he is meant to travel east on his journey. Nenet always the current took me nearer to the Place of the Gods, and the huge ruins rose before my eyes. I was taught how to read in the old books and how to make the old writings—that was hard and took a long time.


By the Waters of Babylon Summary & Analysis from LitCharts | The creators of SparkNotes

Superstition, Magic, and Technology. That’s why they only eat meat and good hunters are so important. The god who lived there must have been a wise god and full of knowledge.

I have said the magic was gone but that is not true—it had gone from the magic things but it had not gone from the place. However, John wants more than that, he wants to accomplish what his spirit want, and it is something very risky that no one in the post-apocalyptic world that he lives in has done before view spoiler [ go into the Place of the Gods hide spoiler ].

By the Waters of Babylon – Wikipedia

When I was very near, my raft struck and turned over. Feb bneet, Nick Watson rated it it was amazing. The lock of it was broken and I opened it and went in.

As it was, they were sure enough of me; water did not hurry. For the first time on his journey he feels truly alone, and he realizes that the knowledge that he so prides himself on is not enough to prepare him for whatever lies ahead.

Then the towers began to fall.

When a god or a demon saw me, then I would die, but meanwhile I was no longer afraid. But it is better to lose one’s life than one’s spirit—and you could see from the face that his spirit had not been lost. But it is not fitting that a priest’s son should show fear. Even though at the start it may be hard to understand, and you might often get confused by what it happening, this story is one of babykon best you will ever read as it perfectly portrays what a post-apocalyptic world would look like and it will always have you wanting to find out more and more as the story develops.


I got that part. I saw them with wisdom beyond wisdom and knowledge beyond knowledge. My students love how organized the handouts are and enjoy tracking the themes as a class.

I woke in the midst of the night. Oh actually, now that I’m writing this review, I just realized that the poison they talked about was the gas from the a-bomb. John also describes objects that he believes were once imbued with magic: I take the metal from the Dead Places but I am not blasted.

But when I started to climb down, I heard the squeaking of rats, so I did not go—rats are unclean, and there must have been many tribes of them, from the squeaking. Though nuclear weapons had not yet been invented, the poison in the ground seems to foresee the consequences of radiation poisoning.

John is fascinated by all his new knowledge, and he is hungry to learn more about the gods and their past civilization. He throws a stone in an attempt to frighten the dog away, but it does not seem to fear him.