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 evident in a number of respects, such as level of inebriation and substance addiction, level of commitment in the household, and even dressing style. Many people are swept away by the world’s expectations and everything amazing that consumes them while they are young. As discussed in the readings for weeks 4 and 3, this has been a major concern for many writers. This paper thus seeks to analyze some of the important aspects of modernism, as indicated in week four reading by F. Scott Fitzgerald in his essay Babylon Revisited (1931), which I consider my favorite reading on this topic.
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. 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 even decided to abandon his only daughter Honoria after the death of his wife Helen which Marion believes Charlie contributed to her death (Brooks and Warren 19). This is evidenced when the author records that Charlie one day became angry with his wife kissing another man in the bar and decided 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 so likely that 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. Charlie after he came back to his normal senses, he decides 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 while staying with her. Before Marion could provide Honoria to his father who had shown his great concern to his daughter, another coincidence occur when Charlie’s old friends appear to ask Charlie if they could go for a dinner something that Charlie dismissed but according to Marion who had accepted to let Honoria to go and stay with his father changes her mind all over sudden (Daugherty and West 7). Charlie is given another tough condition to wait for the next six months is when he would be allowed to take her daughter. Charlie then feels devastated by the words of Marion. He then decides to go to the same bar where he thought to he would run into his friends. Here he decides to resume his past careless life.
Based on my research on modernism, I have therefore considered Fitzgerald’s story to be the best indicator of a modern man some of the qualities of fashion shows that America rejected their traditional traditions and forms. They include prohibition; this is explained in the story by seeing Charlie fully getting associated with alcohol and drugs. The other quality of modernism as indicated in the story is profligate living where Charles marks the reference point especially when he is narrated to have led a careless life. This is dangerous because it can destroy life; modern marriage is also an important aspect of the story, and we see Charles marriage to Helen is short lived and even faced with also of issues. This has even interfered with Honoria’s life and marriage now lacks meaning in life when the younger children are not entitled to parental care. Other features of modern may include obsession when we see Charles being obsessed with too much alcohol and greed to parents.
From the story, therefore, it is clear that the views of modern man by different authors are based on how they conduct themselves in the modern world as opposed to the past years. Some of the important aspects highlighted in the weekly readings involve the comparison in a lifestyle of people which are either positive or negative (Cummings, Estlin and Firmage 59). Though, many authors are condemning the modernism since it is affecting people’s marriage, family, and health. It is, therefore, advisable that one should avoid innovation and, if necessary, in the current world they should focus on the positive side of it rather than the negative aspect, which can lead to regrets in their future life.
Brooks, Cleanth, and Robert Penn Warren. Understanding poetry. Wadsworth Pub Co, 1960.
Cummings, Edward Estlin, and George James Firmage. Complete poems, 1910-1962, vol. 1. Granada, 1981.
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.