Truth In Stephen Vincent Benét's By The Waters Of Babylon

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By definition, truth is “a verified or indisputable fact,” and knowledge is, “acquaintance or familiarity gained by sight, experience, or report.” The short story, “By the Waters of Babylon,” by Stephen Vincent Benét, is about a novice priest who travels to the “forbidden” east of his village and discovers the truth about the world he lives in. He has dreams and visions, of exploring the east throughout his incipient priesthood, which included the Place of Gods, which was full of spirits and demons from the Great Burning. In the climax of the story, the protagonist, John, discovers the truth behind the Place of Gods, and that the Great Burning was nuclear holocaust which destroyed their technology and advancements. The author’s purpose and…show more content…
At the start of the story, he builds a mysterious mood to the forbidden land in the east by stating that there are spirits and demons roaming the area, which were all present since incipient generations (Pg. 141). Further in the story, he describes things in the Place of Gods that we, the readers could recognize, but that John could not; “the towers are not all broken … But the towers themselves looked blind for the gods are gone,” which we could make out as buildings without lights. He also hinted that, “everywhere in [the Dead Place] there are god-roads, though most are cracked and broken. Everywhere there are the ruins of the high towers of the gods,” (Pg. 145) which we could infer as a city of some sort. The author carefully chose ominous words to describe this place, “Place of Gods” and “Death Places,” which were destroyed by the “Great Burning.” We finally realize the author’s purpose at the end of the story after John says, “We shall go to the Place of Gods - the place newyork…” (Pg. 150) where we could piece together that the gods are humans with technology, whom were destroyed by this Great Burning and resulted in Death Places where spirits

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