F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “Babylon Revisited” reading

The term “modern” man refers to the chronological transition in the characters in men’s general behavior from their childhood to their adulthood. The improvements are thought to be observable in a number of respects. For eg, level of inebriation and substance addiction, level of family obligation, and even dressing style. Many people are swept away by the world’s wishes and any enticing thing that consumes them when they are young. As a result, it has become a greater problem for many writers, as depicted in one of my favorite weeks four readings, F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Babylon Revisited (1931). Thus, this paper seeks to analyze some critical issues in this short story, which I found interesting to me.

The whole story is based on the great depression which followed after the devastating stock market crash of the year 1929 in the United States of America (Fitzgerald 130). The accident is recorded to have left many people hopeless especially by its effects. Charlie was a victim as well. The major theme of the story is time and inevitability of past mistakes resurfacing. In the story, Charlie is considered as the major character. The author begins his narration with a flashback where he exposes the type of lifestyle, which was led by Charlie, and he terms it as careless and irresponsible (Fitzgerald 137). Consequently, this is seemed to be a reality when we consider the kind of life that Charlie led in his youthful stages, where the writer records that Charlie decided to abandon his only daughter Honoria after the death of his wife, Helen. An incident that makes Marion believe that Charlie had contributed to his wife’s death. Accordingly, this is evidenced when the author records that Charlie was angered one day after he saw his wife kissing a man in a bar and he decided not to let her in the house but to leave her out in the snow. From this incident, the story narrates that Helen developed some implications in her heart since their relationship as well had become toxic and therefore according to Marion was the cause of her sister’s demise.

Later on, it is recorded that Honoria was adopted by her aunt Marion after Charlie became irresponsible with drunkenness. Soon after the death Charlie’s wife, he realized his mistakes and decided to go to Marion’s place to ask her if she could offer him her daughter back so that he could take care of her (Daugherty and West 7). The theme of time and inevitability is well displayed at this point since Charlie normalcy condition reflects how time has enabled him to apprehend his mistakes (Fitzgerald 148). Though, before Marion could let Honoria leave with her father who seemed to have significantly changed from his initial characters, another coincidence occur when Charlie’s old friends Duncan and Lorraine appeared asking Charlie if they could go for a dinner something that Charlie dismissed.

However, according to Marion who had initially accepted to let Honoria go and stay with his father begins to wonder whether it is true that Charlie could take good care of Honoria and all over sudden decides to refuse. Charlie is given another tough condition to wait for the next six months to be allowed to take her daughter (Fitzgerald 135). Charlie then feels devastated by the words of Marion. He then decides to go to his usual bar thinking he would meet his friends Duncan and Lorraine but misses them and instead finds another bartender whom they have been friends for a long time (Daugherty and West 10). Charlie appears not to be able to cope up with all the frustrations from Marion and his family falling apart, so he feels alienated and lonely. Therefore, he decides to resume his past careless life on drunkenness. Here, the theme of time and inevitability of previous mistake resurfacing is outlined. Another important theme in the story is that of dislocation and alienation. Firstly, the author tells us about the death of Charlie’s wife who dies at a very early stage leaving him with a lot of problems, the adoption of her daughter also makes him feels lonely, and we can see him making several attempts to get her back.


By having F. Scott Fitzgerald revisiting the story, he tries to bring into the reader’s attention some important issues on how people decide to mess up with their life in the youthful stages. The author’s point of reference to alcohol and drug use and their effects on human health and social life makes the story relevant in the modern world. In this regard, the author is deemed to be more concerned with how people spend their time on things that do not benefit them instead of being focused on their future. Therefore, the story is educating, especially to youths who are ignorant of their future.

Works Cited

Daugherty, Christa E., and James LW West. “Josephine Baker, Petronius, and the Text of “Babylon Revisited”. The F. Scott Fitzgerald Review, vol. 1, no. 1, 2002, pp. 3-15.

Fitzgerald, F. Scott. Babylon Revisited: And Other Stories. Simon and Schuster, 2008.

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