Penlighten gives you a summary of the same. By The Waters of Babylon is a work of fiction that narrates about the self expedition undertaken by John, the son of a priest. He goes on to explore for himself the forbidden land which perhaps was brought to dust by a catastrophic Apocalypse long before in history. It was magical and mysterious.

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Start your review of By the Waters of Babylon Write a review Nov 21, Corinne rated it really liked it This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers.

To view it, click here. I was also impressed with how well thought out it was and how many clues there were to what was going on. But now I get it. And I also think "By the Waters of Babylon" is a really well written story, with so many effects going into the theme.

And I also think that the "quest" the priests go on… they all go to the place where the main character did. I was just really impressed. What I love about this story is how well Benet convinces you in the beginning that you are reading a story from an ancient time, as opposed to what the story really is: a story set in the future in which an asteroid or nuclear attack has destroyed our cities, infrastructure, and population. Benets word choice gives us the sense of a primitive people, and in a sense they are because human history has I think I read this story in 8th grade, or that was at least the first time I heard about it.

Overall I like the post-apocalyptic feel to it, and how in the end the main character decides to start slowly rebuilding society. The twist in this story is so great, and if you discover it on your own before the end of the story, the payoff is even better. Again, word choice and phrasing are important to the success of the story, and once the ending is revealed, the class could write about or talk about the importance of word choice in order to achieve a desired effect.

I think that would be a good follow-up reading because it further emphasizes word choice and the idea of how we can and maybe should distance ourselves from our culture in order to analyze it. Also, if it is not in an anthology, I would have to print it out or have students read it off their tablets…provided they have those.

Another issue is that once again I have talked about a story written by a Dead White Male. I think I need to expand the scope of what I read so that what I bring into the class can excite more students.


Stephen Vincent Benét’s By The Waters of Babylon: Summary and Analysis

He is destined to become a priest himself, and he proves his calling by setting aside his fear to gather metal with his father in the Dead Places. The narrator learns chants and spells from his father, but he also gains some more practical knowledge. He learns to stop a wound from bleeding and how to read and write the old writings. Most importantly, his father ignites a desire for learning in him. Eventually, the narrator becomes a man and a priest. Give me your leave. His father performs a purification ritual, and the narrator sets out to await a sign that is time to begin the journey.


By the Waters of Babylon

Plot summary[ edit ] Set in a future following the destruction of industrial civilization, the story is narrated by a young man [4] who is the son of a priest. They are the only ones who can handle metal collected from the homes called the "Dead Places" of long-dead people whom they believe to be gods. His father allows him to go on a spiritual journey, not realizing John is going to this forbidden place. John journeys through the forest for eight days and crosses the river Ou-dis-sun.


By the Waters of Babylon by Stephen Vincent Benet: Summary, Theme & Analysis




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