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What are some literary elements in "By the Waters of Babylon" by Stephen Vincent Benet?

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ms-mcgregor Teacher High School - 12th Grade eNotes Editor Best answer as selected by question asker. The major literary element Benet uses is allusion. The title, "By the Waters of Babylon" is a reference to Psalm 137 in the Bible. The psalm tells about the sorrow the Israelites felt when Jerusalem ( called Zion) was destroyed by the Babylonians and the Jews were taken off as slaves to Babylon. The psalm starts with the line," By the Waters of Babylon, tjere we sat down and wept, when we remembered Zion." This is an obvious reference to the civilization of the "gods' and their destruction. In addition, Benet uses very simple diction and sentence structure to capture the idea that the narrator is a simple human who is telling his story almost like an oral history. He uses the repetition of "It is forbidden" many times to capture the cadence of simple storytelling. In addition, Benet uses simple imagery, such as similies and metaphors to enhance the picture of John's natural world. ... more
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