BY THE WATERS OF BABYLON BENET PDF

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Log in or sign up to add this lesson to a Custom Course. Log in or Sign up. This verse says, 'By the waters of Babylon, there we sat down and wept, when we remembered Zion. The title is appropriate for Benet's futuristic short story that focuses on a society eradicated by nuclear war. The story's narrator is the young son of a priest.

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. He goes to his father and says, 'It is time for me to go on my journey. 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. When the sign arrives in the form of a white fawn, he beings his journey east. He must travel several days to reach the city. He prays and fasts along the way. The narrator camps outside the Place of the Gods. He can see the great city, yet he believes his journey has been accomplished by being so close to the forbidden place.

He knows, though, that he will regret it if he does not continue the journey into the Place of the Gods. He has heard stories about the place he is entering, so he is afraid. He learns that the streets will not burn his feet, as he has once heard. As he explores the place, he is amazed by the great, crumbling 'god roads' and the towers of the gods. The narrator enters one of the towers and is struck by the technology he sees, yet none of it seems to work.

There was a cooking-place but no wood, and though there was a machine to cook food, there was no place to put fire in it,' he says. The narrator sleeps in the tower and experiences a vision in which he sees how it was when the city and its inhabitants were alive. It came upon them as they walked the streets of their city,' he says.

He weeps for the fate of the gods, and he wonders at a civilization that, even with all its great knowledge, destroys itself. The narrator returns to his father and reveals what he has seen in the Place of the Gods. At first, he feels compelled to reveal what he has seen to others. His father, however, convinces him otherwise, saying, 'Truth is a hard deer to hunt.

If you eat too much truth at once, you may die of the truth. It was not idly that our fathers forbade the Dead Places. Now that the narrator has seen and survived the Place of the Gods, he is able to retrieve metal from the place. More importantly, he has access to the gods' knowledge in the form of the books and examples they have left behind. The theme of 'By the Waters of Babylon' is that knowledge can be attained too fast.

The narrator and his father discuss this idea as the older man warns about revealing everything he has seen in the Place of the Gods. The narrator sees that his father 'was right--it is better the truth should come little by little Perhaps, in the old days, they ate knowledge too fast. The gods have advanced technology, yet they are destroyed because their knowledge has developed too quickly. The society has developed nuclear weapons, but they are not ready to have the responsibility of such power.

Despite the rather stark topic of this short story, the story ends on a hopeful note. Throughout the story, the narrator has sought knowledge. He learns when he visits the Place of the Gods that knowledge can be dangerous. He sees firsthand that a society that develops too quickly can inadvertently destroy itself. Still, he reads the old books and learns as much as he can. He hopes that his society can 'build again' but at a more appropriate and measured pace. He sees that even with their incredible technological advances and superior knowledge, the gods have destroyed themselves with nuclear weapons.

He comes to believe that knowledge gained too quickly can be dangerous. The story's title alludes to Psalm , and like the psalmist, the young priest grieves for what has been lost. To unlock this lesson you must be a Study. Create your account. Already a member? Log In. Already registered? Log in here for access. Did you know… We have over college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1, colleges and universities.

You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level. To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page. Not sure what college you want to attend yet? Log in. Sign Up. Explore over 4, video courses. Find a degree that fits your goals. Try it risk-free for 30 days. Instructor: Margaret Stone Margaret has taught both college and high school English and has a master's degree in English.

Save Save Save. Want to watch this again later? Meet the Narrator The story's narrator is the young son of a priest. His Journey Begins When the sign arrives in the form of a white fawn, he beings his journey east. Try it risk-free No obligation, cancel anytime. Want to learn more? Theme and Analysis The theme of 'By the Waters of Babylon' is that knowledge can be attained too fast. Register to view this lesson Are you a student or a teacher? I am a student I am a teacher. Unlock Your Education See for yourself why 30 million people use Study.

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To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page Transferring credit to the school of your choice Not sure what college you want to attend yet? Browse Articles By Category Browse an area of study or degree level. Area of Study. Degree Level. You are viewing lesson Lesson 22 in chapter 3 of the course:. American Novels for 9th Grade: Help and American Short Stories for 9th Grade: Help Ancient Literature for 9th Grade: Help British Fiction for 9th Grade: Help and Contemporary Fiction for 9th Grade Drama for 9th Grade: Help and Poetry for 9th Grade: Help and Ch Text Analysis and Close Reading in 9th Introduction to High School Writing The Writing Process for 9th Grade: Help Conventions in 9th Grade Writing Using Source Materials in 9th Grade Elements of 9th Grade Grammar: Help and

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By the Waters of Babylon

John , the protagonist and first-person narrator, belongs to the tribe of the Hill People and is the son of a priest. The story follows John on his initiation quest, a journey he undertakes in order to be recognized by his tribe as a man and a priest. John chooses the path of his journey based on visions and his reading of signs in the natural world. He travels to the Place of the Gods, even though he is afraid that he will die there.

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

Log in or sign up to add this lesson to a Custom Course. Log in or Sign up. This verse says, 'By the waters of Babylon, there we sat down and wept, when we remembered Zion. The title is appropriate for Benet's futuristic short story that focuses on a society eradicated by nuclear war. The story's narrator is the young son of a priest.

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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. The priests of John's people the hill people are inquisitive people associated with the divine. 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. Once John gets to the Place of the Gods, he feels the energy and magic there.

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