By The Waters of Babylon

7 July 2016

“It is better to lose one’s life than one’s spirit.” John went out of his way to visit the Place of the Gods, despite the forest people, who could have killed him. Knowledge and truth, to him, was more important than his own life. “By the Waters of Babylon” has a major theme of ‘our society eats knowledge entirely too fast.” In “By the Waters of Babylon” you will meet John, a character who learns through a difficult journey that knowledge can be very costly. If a person killed a deer and ate too much of it, he would feel sick and/or sluggish. Anyone who has overeaten knows that bloated feeling, especially after Thanksgiving dinner! Truth is a good thing, just like deer meat is a good thing for a hungry person.

But truth, too, has its negative side effects. When a person is exposed to too much truth, especially considering the age of the person, truth can hurt. Consider the breakup of a long relationship. When the truth is told, “I just don’t love you any more”, the one hearing the truth is hurt. When a child finds out why they were put up for adoption, they may feel rejection of a horrible kind. Adopted children may fantasize about a parent being too poor to care properly for them, and giving them up to a loving, caring couple. To hear, “I didn’t want you” would make you as sick as if you have eaten the whole Thanksgiving turkey by yourself. Trying to continue living a normal life after that would take a lot of effort after that kind of rejection. John is the narrator in “By the Waters of Babylon”; he is also the main character.

By The Waters of Babylon Essay Example

Any reader would recognize that the story is written in first person because the narrator uses personal pronouns such as “I, my, and we”. He describes many events, altercations, and situations in the story using his point of view. “Never trust the innocent” words from Jarrod Hester. John seems as if he is just an innocent little boy, but is he really innocent?

A naive character always makes us feel comfort, and creates a bond between the reader and the main character. “It is forbidden to go to east, (unless to collect metal), but it also was forbidden to go to the river, and I am there” this show that’s John breaks rules, and can be rebellious, this also shows he’s not as innocent as he pertains to be. When using first person point of view, irony is always used! In this particular story the author uses dramatic irony, which is what gives us the feeling to want to jump in the story and smack john while screaming “ what are you doing boy!?” Dramatic irony is irony that creates an energetic feeling that makes reading more exciting.

The action of this story takes place in New York; many obvious hints are given by the author of this story. Some of the hints would be the mentioning of the Hudson River (or as said in the book The Oudison) They called it the Oudison because it shows how much time has passed, and the evolution or changing of our words. The city was filled with sky scrapers, subways, and many of other things that other states and cities did not have.

When John crosses the River he goes into a land he has never been to. For anyone going somewhere they do not know can be uneasy and make you an uncomfortable of the surrounding, but for John, it is not this way. John was full of fear but as he got close he rid himself of the feelings. When one goes to a new place they like to take in as much as they can, John does not. He looks at the Towers of The Gods and he looks at the tunnels for the slaves. For readers that grew up in the city of New York they would know that these are allusions to skyscrapers and subways.

In “By the Waters of Babylon” there are many, many symbols. The buildings symbolize what we can do when we let things get out of control. Our society and generation thinks technology is so great because we have anything and everything at our fingertips when we are on the internet, but most people do not see how much damage it can really do to us in the long run. When authors write post-apocalyptic stories they are trying to get us to open our eyes so we are not blinded by what is in front of us. I believe that authors write stories like this one, and “There will come soft rains” because they are trying to warn us of what could happen. While reading stories like this one, the thoughts that should go through your head are not pleasant. You should want a world that is complete opposite of these worlds.

The metal collected by the priests symbolizes the fears of John’s people. It was believed by the members of his town that if one touched metal, they would die unless that person was destined to be a priest. Metal after the blast would have been radioactive, and so anyone touching tainted metal would probably get radiation poisoning and die. So the superstition of “don’t touch metal” was born from that. Over centuries, the fear stuck. At some point, someone must have picked up metal and NOT died, and so that person was deemed as having special powers.The fact that John is travelling east in his journey is a symbol. The East symbolizes the quest for knowledge, and peace this is what John was seeking.

He wanted to know about the Place of the Gods. He also sees an eagle fly east and determines that this is a good sign and it was because eagles symbolize knowledge. Other symbols are things such as animals, (the eagle, the fawn, the dogs, and the butterflies.) The eagle symbolizes knowledge, and religion. Since the eagle is our nation’s national bird, and it appears in story it symbolizes rebirth, and strength to start over again. The white fawn represents a path to a happy new life, (again which shows they are trying to start their nation over again). The fawn is magical, and makes us feel somewhat comfort. The dogs symbolize an allusion that authors use very frequent- it’s the pattern of 3.The pack of dogs had 3 dogs and 3 arrows which makes it semi religious. The butterflies were put into the story to show innocence. But when the author made them white, he made the butterflies symbolize purity and rebirth. Again, this shows that the characters are try to make their world new again.

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