Explain fully Charlie's attempt to escape the past In F. Scott Fitzgerald's "Babylon Revisited,"

Essay by mosrengenCollege, UndergraduateB+, October 2004

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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.