river tells him (John), and the narrator’s
river of babylon Olivia pickernsil Mrs.
Sheridan English 2- honors 13 September 2011 “By the Rivers of Babylon” Literary Analysis Questions 1) Stephen Vincent Benet gives John, the son of a priest and the narrator, a brave, ambitious persona that thinks with his heart and is determined and religious The first-person point-of-view is incredibly helpful to the reader in this story because John lives in a world that is not our time period, and in a culture that is very unusual and foreign to us. John is able to explain through his narrative and thoughts, many aspects of that culture as a boy who lives it everyday.It is important that John narrates the story because he is younger opposed to an older man, so during his quest he has the opportunity to change from a boy into a man. 2) The paragraph, beginning with, “Nevertheless, it was strange” has good use of dramatic irony and first person point of view. The reason is because John is describing a modern day house with ordinary machinery such as lights and stoves.
An example would be, “There was a cooking-place but no wood, and though there was a machine to cook food, there was no place to put fire in it.Nor were there candles or lamps—there were things that looked like lamps but they had neither oil nor wick. ”He had never experienced this modern age so the reader knows that he is in a modern house but he is confused and thinks its all magic; ”All these things were magic, but I touched them and lived—the magic had gone out of them. ” 3) Since the story is told from a first-person point of view, the reader knows only what the narrator tells him (John), and the narrator’s view is always a limited one.In this story, John is boy who explains the history of his people, describes places, and recounts the events of the story in his own language and in the context of what he understands.
As readers, we experience his journey as he experiences it. As the story develops, we slowly realize that John and his people live in the Northeast United States and that his journey takes him to New York City. In the story’s conclusion, we understand that civilization has been destroyed by a terrible war. In learning what had happened, we realize the significance of what John has told us about his people and their way of ife. 4) The reference of the title is an allusion to a Biblical passage in the Old Testament, Psalm 137. In this Psalm, the Israelites mourn their being divided from their homeland Jerusalem and taken into captivity in a hostile land.
“By the waters, the waters of Babylon, We sat down and wept, and wept, for thee, Zion. ” It relates to the plot of the story because like John, the people in this passage are also very religious. Also, in the passage excerpted from the Bible, Jerusalem is a country that had also killed its peoples, much like the civilization that had been ruined in the story. 5)