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Essay/Term paper: "by the waters of babylon"

Essay, term paper, research paper:  Book Reports

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"By the Waters of Babylon"

by Stephen Vincent Benét

I. Describe the story's exposition.

During the exposition you learn that it is forbidden to go to any of the
Dead Places except to search for metal, and he who touches the metal must be a
priest of the son of the priest. You also learn that John is the son of a priest
and is training to become a priest.

II. Describe the story's conflict.

The conflict of the story is that John must over come his fears and go
to the city. This is needed for him to become a priest. He must go explore the

III. What events make up the story's rising action?

The rising action is made up of many parts. John touches a piece his
father got from the Dead Place. He then fasted for a day and wait for a sign. He
then saw an eagle flying east. Then he had to begin his journey. He then goes to
the city and explores finding many statues and buildings. He then sees a man
siting in a chair in one of the temples (skyscrapers).

IV. Describe the story's climax.

The climax of the story is when John realizes that the man and all the
men in the Place of the Gods were just normal people. He realizes they are more
advanced humans, but they were just like he was.

V. What events make up the story's falling action?

The falling action is when John goes back to town to tell his father
what he saw. He then went to his father to be praised an purified. His father
told him that "You went away a boy. You come back a man and a priest." He
started to go to the Dead Places to retrieve books and magic tools.

VI. Describe the story's resolution.

The resolution is all summed up in two sentences. "They were men who
were here before us. We must build again." They will learn the ways of the old
people, and from that they will build a better civilization.
They learned that all the rules that had been put on them kept the from
finding the truth about the gods.

VII. What complications increase the plot's tension?

Several complications increase the plot's tension. There is great
tension in the plot, because many of the things he is seeing were destroyed and
hard to understand what it is. We also cannot see what other people are thinking,
because the story is told in first person, John.

IX. Choose 3 important symbols and describe what they represent within the

The metal represents the rules that the people have and things they do
not understand. The man represents what humans used to be and again things they
do not understand. The "ashing " statue represents what people think of things
that they cannot understand.

X. What sort of person is the main character.

John is a caring person. He is young so he is open to new ideas like the
gods being human. He is a well developed person. You see every aspect of John.
He also is a dynamic person. He changes from believing that the people in the
Dead Places were gods to believing that they were normal people.

XI. How does the setting affect the story's characters and the outcome?

The setting of the story is a little east of New York city. Them moving
from a rural region to a urban region make them think that they are little
compared to the people in the urban area. Because of this they thought of the
people in the City gods. The outcome of the story shows that they learned that
is what their future will be like, and that those are the mistake they do not
want to make.

XII. What is the story's theme? Why do you say this?

The theme of the story is time repeats itself and each time it gets
better and better. I say this because the human civilization was destroyed
except for a few and yet they were able to restart the civilization that will
probably one day rule the world.


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