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By the Waters of Babylon by Stephen Vincent Benet

By the Waters of Babylon is a short post-apocalyptic story written by Stephen Vincent Benet. The story happens in the future and tells about the decay of industrial civilization. The narrator is a young man. He is the son of a priest. The priests of John’s people are related to inquiring people connected with something divine. They are the only ones who manage the metal collected from the homes of people who are long-dead and are considered to be gods. The narrative follows John’s self-assignment mission to get to the Place of the Gods. His father lets him to set on a spiritual journey but he doesn’t know he is actually going to this forbidden place.

John travels through the forest for eight days and crosses the river called Ou-dis-sun. When he gets to the Palace of the Gods, he feels energy and magic. There he sees a statue of a human that has an attached sign to it ASHING. There is also a building called UBTREAS. John got chased by the dogs. Finally, he climbs on a big building where he finds a dead god. After seeing this, he suddenly realizes that gods were once humans whose power overpowers their good judgement. When John returns home, he tells his father about the place called New York. His father tells him not to share his experience with others in the tribe because too much truth sometimes is a bad thing and it must be told little by little. In the end, John states his conviction that when he becomes the head priest they must build again.

Benet wrote the short story after April 25, 1937 when Guernica was bombed by Fascist army. Most of the Basque town was destroyed. At the time, the public didn’t know about the nuclear weapons, but Bent’s description of the Great Burning reminds the later descriptions of the consequences of nuclear blasts. The deadly mists might also be referred to chemical weapons in World War I, especially mustard gas, a weapon of war Benet’s generation witnessed.

The story greatly influenced other writers. In 1955, Edgar Pangborn wrote The Music Master of Babylon, a post-apocalyptic story told by the pianist living alone in destroyed New York City. After years of being isolated, he encounters two young men from a new culture who came to explore the destroyed city.

By the Waters of Babylon is a short post-apocalyptic story written by Stephen Vincent Benet. The story happens in the future and tells about the decay of industrial civilization. The narrator is a young man. He is the son of a priest. The priests of John’s people are related to inquiring people connected with something divine.

Assignment ID
100004587
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CREATED ON
25 April 2017
COMPLETED ON
28 April 2017
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$17
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25 April 2017
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28 April 2017
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