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By the Waters of Babylon and Coyote Kills the Giant

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“By the Waters of Babylon” and “Coyote Kills the Giant” are two very different pieces that share the same idea of a journey. John and Coyote both prepare to go on journeys that could affect their lives greatly, although, they each have entirely different reasons for attempting each journey. John hopes to gain knowledge from the Place of the Gods that will not only benefit himself, but also all of his people. Coyote takes up his quest only to prove he is smart enough to take on anyone, even a giant. He wants to prove his pride.

“By the Waters of Babylon” takes place in New York City, many years in the future. But, this New York City is in ruins, and there are no longer any civilians. Granted it is in the future, everything is referred to as items from older civilizations. It seems that, as time went on, technology reversed. This gives the story much more meaning, the idea that there is more going on than there actually is. This is much different than the setting of “Coyote Kills the Giant”. Here, the story takes place in a cave, which is actually the belly of a huge giant. In both stories, the main characters see normal items and graphical features as other things. John sees buildings, statues, and other goods as objects belonging to an earlier civilization. A cave and volcano act as the stomach and heart of the giant in “Coyote Kills the Giant”. Both settings are used to enhance the stories.

In both pieces, the characters faced conflicts, both internal and external. They both experienced an internal conflict at the beginnings of their stories when they had to decide whether or not they should go on their journey. John does experience more internal conflicts than Coyote. John must overcome his fear in order to discover the truth and answers he seeks. However, they both experience external conflicts. John must face dogs, the river, and the Forest People. Coyote must face the giant and save the others. These conflicts build the story up to the climax and resolution.

“By the Water’s of Babylon” had a much more complex and interesting ending than “Coyote Kills the Giant”. In “By the Water’s of Babylon”, John returns home, where he tells his father of his discovery, that the gods were man. His father decides they shouldn’t tell the people because it could be dangerous knowledge. John then vows to return to the Place of the Gods when he is chief priest. At the end of “Coyote Kills the Giant”, Coyote opens the giant’s mouth one last time and helps the others escape. The wood tick barely made it out in time, causing him to become flat. This is how the wood tick became flat. Each story ended in its own appropriate way.

These two pieces of literature had the same idea of a journey, although the main characters were very different. John was more worried about his people and the good he could do as a priest. Coyote on the other hand, was very cunning and full of his pride. You could see these characteristics as each story unfolded. Their settings were different but referring to items as things they really were not occurred in both stories. Both characters had to face conflict, both internal and external. The settings and conflicts all led to the resolution of each story. Each was its own story with its own plot, but as you read between the lines, you can see the similarities.

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