“Babylon Revisited” is a short story by F. Scott Fitzgerald. This literary work was first written in 1930 and published on February 21, 1931. Its uniqueness made it gain roots in the literary field, which made it published in the Saturday Evening Post and free inside the telegraph concurrently during the year 1931. This book was later adapted into a motion picture called the “Last Time I Saw Paris” in 1954 under the production of Van Johnson and Elizabeth Taylor. “Babylon Revisited” is widely considered as the apex of Fitzgerald’s short stories, which are based on his life experiences. The story is about exile’s return where Charlie, who is the protagonist of the story, suffers from life frustrations after losing all his wealth. In addition, the book also provides an overview of what the audience may experience if they would put themselves in Charlie’s situation. This research paper, therefore, analyzes the character’s flaws, insecurities as well as other dominant human nature figurative as presented in the short story.
“Babylon Revisited” is a beautifully dedicated, flawless and heartfelt exploration of success, failure, and redemption. Perhaps, it is a reflection of the author’s life experiences passed to people through literature. Fitzgerald presents his main character Charlie Wale’s past, present and future desires to flaws a portrait of things that he views as the most important aspects of a successful life. Insecurity and success are examined through the actions of Charlie and his dear wife especially during the time when they wealth on the rise. Failure, on the other hand, has been concurrently unfolded in Charlie’s loss of wealth and his loving family (Fitzgerald 123). Moreover, the picture of redemption in which this story is solely based upon is finally explored through Charlie’s desire to raise his lovely daughter and control his deceptive alcoholism behavior. Charlie’s case in this book is of a superficial human trait. As much as he is facing the wrath of his initial mistakes, at the redemption stage of his life, he has a feeling of humanity and undertakes the sole responsibility of taking care of his daughter.
The evolving nature of the characters in this short story is uniquely presented as it moves from success to failure. This type of evolution in life is experienced in extreme cases where people like Charlie once become usefully, they would always resolve into living lives beyond their means; a condition that usually leads to failures. Charlie Wales was wealthy, but later in life, he became bankrupt. Whereas he lost some of his money in the stock market crash, he ultimately increased his wealth in the subsequent market booms during his stock exchange money market years. His descriptions in the book have been presented as “not even working hard towards the end, and getting richer and richer” (Fitzgerald 146). Charlie was a tourist during his achievement periods. He ran over Paris more often with his wife while spending his fortune recklessly. Charlie later in life recaptured in his sweet day’s memories recalled: “thousand franc notes issued to an Orchestra for playing a single number” (Fitzgerald 148). Moreover, extremely wealthy conditions are usually not left without downsides. For instance, Charlie was eventually faced with a breakdown in his marriage with Helen. Seemingly, the couple was so much in love that they began hurting one another without reason. The marriage breakdown period nonetheless is the epitome of insecurity on Charlie’s side as he finds Helen in another man’s arms kissing the man in his presence (Fitzgerald 147).
The author deceitfully presents change as the main theme in the story. It is presented as an inevitable path of life. Even though Charlie does not show any precise changes acceptability, he later in life realized this was the beginning of his failure. This is because he is presented in the book as an ever-childish fellow who never allowed his success to wrap his judgment or reasoning ability. Ironically, the lack of Charlie’s acknowledgment as per the changes in his life is what overly led to his greatest failure in life. Acknowledging the aspects of change in life is an important feature of success. Reactions to changes in one’s life ensure that he or she does not repeat the same mistakes they had done earlier in life (Fitzgerald 221).
In conclusion, Fitzgerald expects his audience to comprehend that Charlie’s failure was not because of the losses he made due to the short selling in the money market, but rather due to his unacceptable nature of changes in his life. This character lacked maturity and self-control during the height of his wealth, which eventually led to his downfall. Additionally, his flaws are revealed in several scenes of this short story such as the cases in which he behaves immaturely. One such incident is a reflection of when he remembered making away with a tricycle and pedaled Lorraine Quarles around Etoile.
Fitzgerald, F S. Babylon Revisited: The Screenplay. New York: Carroll & Graf Publishers, 2000. Print.