BY THE WATERS OF BABYLON by Stephen Vincent Benét. The north and the w est and the south are good hunting ground, but it is forbidden to go east. It. Dec 14, Need help with By the Waters of Babylon in Stephen Vincent Benét’s By the Waters of Babylon? Check out our revolutionary side-by-side. The By the Waters of Babylon Community Note includes chapter-by-chapter summary and analysis, character list, by Stephen Vincent Benet.

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The book is very much ahead of its time, and I respect it for that. I could not have seen it in the body—my body would have died.

What is happiness to the gods? Most irrelevant title there has ever been.

By the Waters of Babylon

Stephen Vincent Benet was a prophet and this is warers lamentation. It concerns a priest’s son in a primitive society who makes a journey into wxters forbidden area as part of a kind of self-imposed initiation rite.

My heart was troubled about going east, yet I knew that I must go. It is later revealed that the “Place of the Gods” is just a heavily bombed area, and those living in the areas around the ruins are unaware that these are not just ruins of a superior race, but are just leftovers from a war. I was taught how to read in the ny books and how to make the old writings—that was hard and took a long time. I went north—I did not try to shephen myself.

I have killed the panther, I have killed the fawn! I mean, the character John was okay. After a while, I knew that my belly was hungry. As I looked upon them and their magic, I felt like a child—but a little more, it seemed to me, and they would pull down the moon from the sky. It was very dystopian but with no real suspense.


This page was last edited voncent 13 Decemberat There should have been the wailings of spirits and the shrieks of demons, but there were not.

When John wakes up, a large, wolf-like dog is watching him. I tried to guide my raft with the pole but it spun around. May 11, gay sunflower rated it liked it.

By the Waters of Babylon – Wikipedia

When the sun rose, I thought, “My journey has been clean. I had stepped out of my body—I could see my body asleep in front of the cold fire, but it was not I. I turned to the door in the opposite side of the wall.

Thought-provoking, terrific little read. Aug 26, Mell rated it really liked it Shelves: The fire he builds recalls the symbolic association between fire and knowledge, rooted in the Greek myth of Prometheus, who stole fire from the gods to give to humanity.

John lists tribal taboos but he does not explain why it is forbidden to visit certain places, why only the priests can collect metal, or what the Dead Places, the Great Burning, or the Place of the Gods are. It was fire falling out of the sky and a mist that poisoned. Open your hearts, you spirits, and hear my song.

That was small to what byy afterward but it made my heart feel big. 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.


John is fascinated by all his new knowledge, and he is hungry to learn more about the gods and their past civilization. The priests teach John chants, spells, and other secrets.

But they were men who watesr the city, not gods or demons.

John knows that he will die if he enters the Place of the Gods, but he also knows that if vinent turns back without fully satisfying his desire for new knowledge about the gods, he will never be content or at peace with himself.

After John returns to his tribe, he tells his father of “the place New York. He graduated from Yale insubmitting his third volume of poems in place of a thesis. These things are forbidden—they have been forbidden since the vicnent of time. I have been in the fights with the Forest People—I have seen men die.

John tells the reader that he has always seen this vision. How shall I tell what I saw? The last page was interesting, and that page alone gave me shivers. My body is painted for death and my limbs weak, but my heart is big as I go to the Place of the Gods! When I woke, the fire had gone out and I was cold.