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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In the washing-place, a thing said “Hot” but it was not hot to the touch—another thing said “Cold” but it was not cold. I remember the dead man’s face. I wrapped myself in a floor-covering and slept in front of the fire—I was very tired. I shouted and the panther lifted his head from the fawn. It leads into beneh apartment.

The first room was a small ante-room—I waited there for some time, telling the spirits of the place that I came in peace and not as a robber. I went north—I tsephen not try to hide myself.

By the Waters of Babylon Summary & Analysis from LitCharts | The creators of SparkNotes

It gets dark, and though John has not yet explored all of the rooms, he decides to make a fire in the fireplace of a large room with windows overlooking the city. The Place of the Gods has very few trees: Sometimes these are still found in the Dead Places—once, when I was a child and foolish, I opened such a jar and tasted it and found the food sweet.


There was so much in the house I could not understand—and yet I am a priest and the son of a priest. 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.

By the Waters of Babylon

Dec 03, Jeremy rated it it was amazing. And I also think that the “quest” vlncent priests go on… they all go to the place where the main character did.

After that, they gave me the good piece of meat and the warm corner of the fire. If I went to the Place of the Gods, I would surely die, but, if I did not go, I could watrrs be at peace with my spirit again.

By the Waters of Babylon by Stephen Vincent Benét

But it is better to lose one’s life than one’s spirit—and you could see from the face that his spirit had genet been lost. I could hear their foolish baying beyond it but I did not stop to answer them. At the top was another door—I found the knob and opened it. As part of the ritual, his father asks him about his dreams, and John describes a vision of the Place of the Gods. I have come to the great river. The author was, admittedly, a more accomplished stylist than most of his contemporary rhe fiction writers and, not having to write for mass-market publication, could allow himself more freedom.

John tells the reader that he has always seen this vision. With unbelievable tools they did giant works—no part of the earth was safe from them, for, if they wished for a thing, they summoned it from the other side of the world.


Then the towers began to fall. All in all, nothing special.

However, judging it purely on entertainment value the book fails. I looked at the bones in the shadow and kept my voice still.

As he says in the last page of this short story, “We must build again. John travels east for eight days, first along the god-roads and then through the forest, avoiding hunting parties of the Forest People. Nov 21, Corinne rated it really liked it. He was a big dog, with a gray-brown coat, as big as a wolf. Do they like to be scared? To ask other readers questions about By the Waters of Babylonplease sign up.

Vincetn Forest People are afraid of them but I am not. There were many stairs, turning around till my head was dizzy. It seemed to me that all around me there were whisperings and voices. But it was no better written and no more imaginative than many stories that had already been published. We are not ignorant like the Forest People—our women spin wool on the wheel, our priests wear a white robe. I think I need to expand the scope of what I read so that what I bring thf the class can excite more students.

At least, we make a beginning.