Babylon revisited is F. Scott Fitzgerald modernist story where a man is striving to prove that he is responsible enough to have custody of his daughter (Fitzgerald, n.p). Having lived a life of addiction and total disregard for his responsibilities in the past, Charlie, the protagonist takes it by himself to uplift himself from the dangerous tendencies that he had created for himself and reconstruct himself again following the death of his wife (Fitzgerald, n.p). Therefore, Babylon revisited through this paper, discusses the theme of redeeming oneself after living a life of excesses (Fitzgerald, n.p). The significance of this story is to determine the result of Charlie’s efforts to prove again that he is a responsible father while also illustrating the harsh reality of one’s efforts to better and improve themselves does not always result to a positive outcome.
The story introduced Charlie as a responsible man; Fitzgerald deliberately wanted the audience to show some sympathy to Charlie (Stein, n.p). He is a loving father, as depicted in the way his daughter, Honoria loves him more than anyone else and the way Charlie’s heart leaps on the idea that his daughter wants to live with him. Charlie is also unconditionally kinder to everyone around him such as Marion and Lorraine (Stein, n.p). It is the reason why the audience should side with him regardless of his addictive past. Charlie is a man who means well for everyone even though he is judged in the wrong way by people like Marion. He tries to escape his past, and it is this desperation to escape the past that leads to his downfall. Charlie tries to push behind his addictive past by only taking one drink every afternoon. However, it is this lack of information by people like Larraine and Duncan that makes them ruin his plans.
Charlie has all it takes to be the father to Honoria, and he is already putting himself through rehabilitation (Hess, p. 78). The lavish roaring quintessential 20’s scene that Hellen, Charlie’s wife and himself were part of ultimately led to the death of his wife. Hellen’s death was a consequence of giving in to the life of sin. It is this experience that sobers Charlie to speak up. Charlie is so much into his adult years at the time he began acting out. It is the economic boom as well as the horrors of the First World War that drove Hellen and Charlie to live as if there is no tomorrow (Hess, p. 86). There was a common belief among the people that there could no tomorrow. However, the sad death of Hellen provided the opportunity for Charlie to wake up and take a step back and realize the mess he has caused his life. Even Honoria was now facing the adverse effects of this past life. It is now essential to recognize that the life of luxury that they live was selfish and even innocent people like Honoria would have to suffer.
Babylon revisited is a modernist short story about how people live in luxury in total disregard for others, but in favor of selfish and self-fulfilling life. Fitzgerald denied Charlie a happy ending in the story to show the audience the irreversible damage that one can cause if they are not careful with their decisions. It is a story that shows that people cannot redeem themselves and obtain a desirable outcome if they continue to deny their past.
Fitzgerald, F. Scott. Babylon Revisited. BoD E-Short, 2015.
Hess, Heather LN. “The Crash!”: Writing the Great Depression in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “Babylon Revisited,”“Emotional Bankruptcy,” and “Crazy Sunday.” Journal of Modern Literature 42.1 (2018): 77-94.
Stein, Joshua. An Attractive Reflection. An Author’s Intoxicated Influence on his Literary Characters. GRIN Verlag, 2018.