Essay about F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Babylon Revisited

Everyone makes mistakes in their lifetimes and whether they are big or small, the mistakes people make and the ways that they atone for those mistakes define who they truly are. In F. Scott Fitzgerald’s short story “Babylon Revisited”, Fitzgerald proves using symbolism, point-of-view, and tone, that no matter how hard one tries to hide them, the mistakes one make in the past stay with them forever, setting the tone for the future.The past is symbolized by several elements within the story, primarily by people, places and things. Early in the story, Charlie brings up an old acquaintance, Claude Fessenden, while talking to Alix the bartender. According to Alix, Claude Fessenden has run up a bill of over thirty thousand francs at the Ritz, gave a bad check to pay his debt, and is no longer welcome to return to the bar. Charlie knew Claude from his rambunctious days during the bull market, but now he’s “all bloated up” (BABYLON), bereft by the crash. The next day, during lunch with his daughter, Honoria, two more figures from Charlie’s past come into play – Lorraine and Duncan, who are old friends of “a crowd who had helped them make months into days in the lavish times of three years ago” (BABYLON). They are instantly drawn to Charlie, and force him to remember the years he so vehemently tries to forget; questioning in amazement the sober man standing before them. Charlie shoos the two along as best as he can without insult, as he knows these people are not good for him or his daughter to be around. They are the living embodiment of the events of his past, and in order to be a new person, his old friends cannot be a part of his life. Charlie’s daughter Honoria is nine years old, practically an adult in Charlie’s eyes. He missed o…

…oney” (BABYLON). Fitzgerald wanted the reader to go away with the thought that everything one does has an impact on the future, and not to taunt life, as anything one does can and will have a negative effect on future events.

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There are countless ways to analyze F. Scott Fitzgerald’s short story “Babylon Revisited”, but what Fitzgerald wanted the reader to understand after reading this story through his use of symbolism, point of view, and tone, was that the mistakes one makes in the past stay with them forever, so one should live life well, and without regret.

Works Cited

“BABYLON REVISITED.” BABYLON REVISITED. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Feb. 2014. .

“A Brief Life of Fitzgerald.” A Brief Life of Fitzgerald. N.p., n.d. Web. 01 Mar. 2014. .


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