Explain fully Charlie's attempt to escape the past.
In F. Scott Fitzgerald's "Babylon Revisited," Charlie Wales has come to Paris to try to
get custody of his daughter Honoria from his late wife's sister Marion, to whom the child
was entrusted after Charlie fell apart several years before. In order to get Honoria back,
he needs to present a facade of being much more "whole" than he really is; but he is fully
aware of the split between the fantasy he has created and the reality he lives.
It is natural that in returning to a place where one has once lived, one should revisit
familiar places, and Charlie spends the first scene of the story in a bar. From this we learn
that Charlie has had a problem with alcohol, and that this is a situation all too common in
his social circle. The opening paragraphs establish that he has been away for a while, and
much has changed.
He describes what his old haunts are like now, alluding to the fact that
the bar used to be busier; that many of his friends have gone away, or gone to the dogs, or
gotten sick; that he used to drink excessively, but has disciplined himself to one drink a
day. We see that Charlie is sincerely trying to re-invent himself, and we think he deserves
a chance. But Marion, Charlie's sister-in-law, the sister of his deceased wife Helen, who
has custody of Honoria does not think so. She refers to an incident when Charlie locked
Helen out of the house in the snow, apparently a relatively short time before Helen's
death. Although there is no real medical connection between the snow incident and
Helen's heart attack, Marion still connects the two events in her mind because they
occurred about the same time, and unjustifiably holds Charlie responsible for the death of
his wife. Fitzgerald introduces a tragic element to the story with the perception that time
fight. Her pain and prejudice against Charlie transcend time though she sees that he is
now a fit parent and guardian. But in the same time she does not want to be a barrier
between him and Honoria. She basically agrees with Charlie to give him his daughter
back but by the way she sad it we can see that feud between them is not over. She just
And the past gives her that chance. His old friends appears like "ghosts from
the past". And even their appearances very short and looks harmless it's
very symbolic for Marion. She sees that in her way, the way that Charlie
didn't change much. He still the same old Charlie she hates and blames for
the death of her sister Helen. She didn't say anything, she just leave the room
but this is the end. Duncan Schaeffer and Lorraine Quarrles, Charlie's past
kill his dream for new, better life for him and his daughter.
"They couldn't make him pay forever." Of' course not, and most probably some
time later he would get his beautiful Honoria back, but what happened today
become past in the future and that past may come back again to hunt him.