Negative Views on Memory in “Babylon Revisited” Anonymous 11th Grade

F. Scott Fitzgerald’s narrative “Babylon Revisited” and other works provided him a popular name in American literature. Fitzgerald was a popular figure during the “Roaring Twenties” since of both his released works and his marital relationship to an Alabama female by the name of Zelda Sayre. His composing brought the couple fortune and popularity, and newspapers saw them as the best example of what America was expected to be like throughout this prosperous time. Nevertheless, in spite of their seemingly pleased and rich lifestyle, the Fitzgeralds’ marriage stopped working due to the famous author’s alcoholism. Fitzgerald died from a cardiac arrest in 1940, thirty years after his better half’s mental breakdown. Both his relationship with his wife and his alcoholic nature offered him a negative view on the roles played by memory and the past. While lots of popular authors claim that memory is a lovely thing that brings cohesion and significance to individuals’s lives, Fitzgerald disagrees. He states that memories revive unhappiness and dealing with things that have actually occurred in the past can have a very unfavorable impact on the human mind. It complicates life by making it extremely difficult to move on and start over when a mistake has actually been made. Fitzgerald’s narratives are frequently melancholy in this respect. In his narrative “Babylon Revisited,” Fitzgerald reveals his unfavorable views of memory and the past by subjecting the protagonist, Charlie Wales, to an awakening of sobriety, severe criticism, and finally, failure.

“Babylon Revisited” starts in the streets of Paris throughout the early 1930’s. Charlie, newly sober, has returned to the town where all of his misdeeds in the previous took place, not to relive them, but to recover his child, Honoria, who is under the custody of Charlie’s bro and sister-in-law, Marion and Lincoln Peters. One day, Charlie takes his child to a vaudeville program and is required to engage with 2 old friends. Fitzgerald says, “Abrupt ghosts out of the past: Duncan Schaeffer, a good friend from college. Lorraine Quarrles, a beautiful, pale blonde of thirty; one of a crowd who had actually assisted them make months into days in the lavish times of 3 years ago” (2206 ). Charlie is surprised yet delighted to see the 2, and he gives them Marion and Lincoln’s address in hopes of overtaking them later. However, as the discussion continues, Charlie understands that his pals are still the same people that they were three years back and that he has actually altered dramatically. His awakening becomes clear when Fitzgerald states, “As always, he [Charlie] felt Lorraine’s passionate, provocative destination, however his own rhythm was various now.” Charlie’s awakening of sobriety from his careless past has actually left him with a feeling of awkwardness around his old pals. He is to unwillingly required to relive a memory from the past when Lorraine sends him a letter a couple of days later. Fitzgerald, in the words of Lorraine, states, “We did have such good times that crazy spring, like the night you and I took the butcher’s tricycle, and the time we attempted to get in touch with the president and you had the old derby rim and wire cane. Everybody seems so old lately, however I don’t feel old a bit” (2212 ). Charlie’s recollections of these acts, which Lorraine refers to as “great times,” are no longer good to him. In truth, Charlie sees his past as a nightmare– a headache that he can’t appear to flee from.

Throughout the story, Charlie is being criticized constantly about the habits he displayed before his awakening happened. This is done strictly by Marion, who blames Charlie for her sibling’s, Charlie’s partner’s, death. She is resentful towards Charlie for treating her sister, Helen, inadequately throughout their reckless way of life together and also for Charlie’s financial supremacy over her and Lincoln. An example of Charlie’s extreme habits that sticks out in Marion’s mind is the night that Helen showed up at the Peters’ doorstep, shivering from the cold. Charlie had actually locked Helen out of the house previously that evening, Marion mentions to Charlie, “How much you were responsible for Helen’s death, I don’t know. It’s something you’ll need to square with your own conscience” (2210 ). Her viewpoint towards the old Charlie overshadows his decision and promises towards her in the present. Though Charlie desires nothing however to be able to be with his child once again, Marion declines to believe he has altered. She is blunt about her opinion of Charlie and extremely doubtful about his sobriety. Throughout a sit-down one day, Charlie, Lincoln, and Marion begin talking about the custody arrangement for Honoria. Lincoln is cut off quite all of a sudden by his wife when she looks Charlie straight in the eyes and asks him, “The length of time are you going to stay sober, Charlie?” (2208 ). This direct blow versus Charlie’s new life injures him, and when he attempts to protect himself, she brings back the memories of the previous yet once again, taunting him with the ideas of his old life.

The climax of this story happens after Marion and Lincoln tentatively consent to provide custody of Honoria back to Charlie. Charlie visits the Peters’ house and is brought in person with his past in the form of Lorraine and Duncan. Fitzgerald says, “They were gay, they were hilarious, they were roaring with laughter” (2213 ). This is implying that the two are intoxicated, and this makes Charlie very anxious and mad. Duncan and Lorraine’s drunkenness is giving Marion and Lincoln the wrong impression about Charlie’s new life, and it worsens when Lorraine says to Charlie, “Come and dine. Sure your cousins won’ mine” (2214 ). This quote shows just how intoxicated Charlie’s old friends were. Marion and Lincoln are not Charlie’s cousins. Duncan and Lorraine’s inebriation is obvious to everyone in the room, and when Charlie greatly informs the two to leave, Lorraine retorts by saying, “All right, we’ll go. However I keep in mind once when you hammered on my door at 4 a.m. I sufficed of an excellent sport to offer you a drink. Begin, Dunc” (2214 ). This remark breaks Marion’s already-fragile opinion about Charlie, and after Duncan and Lorraine leave, she takes back her blessing concerning Honoria. This devastates Charlie. The past has actually again defeated him, and at the end of the story, he is left alone in a bar at the Ritz, almost a damaged man.

Fitzgerald’s often-melancholy works sometimes suggest that memory is a living, breathing problem, and that the past is something dreadful that can not be altered and will stick with one forever. In the narrative “Babylon Revisited,” Fitzgerald depicts the unfavorable impacts of memory by triggering Charlie Wales tremendous pain. Charlie’s drunken, negligent past brought him unhappiness even after he sobers up and turns his life around. His awakening might have matured him, but it shattered his dreams beyond repair work. Memories and people of the past haunt his present day, and Marion Peters is unable to let go of her own memories to provide Charlie another possibility. Throughout the climax of the story, Charlie’s old pals come back and destroy his possibilities of being reunited with his child, and he is forced to relive the headaches of his past again and again. Fitzgerald’s individual issues created a dissatisfied alcoholic, twisting his opinion of memory’s effect on the human mind, a view that he entangled into his melancholy stories about life in the early 1900’s.