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Unfortunately, the allusion to Babylon in the title of this great story does not refer to the Tower of Babel, but rather the empire of Babylon that was renowned for its decadence. Thus in this story, Babylon is used as a symbol for a place of orgiastic decadence to recall the "heady days" of Americans in Paris before the Wall Street Crash and the Great Depression kicked in. Numerous references are made to this theme throughout the tale as Charlie Wales returns to Paris for the first time after so long away. For example, at one stage he reminisces that:
He had never eaten at a really cheap restaurant in Paris. Five-course dinner, four francs fifty, eighteen cents, win included. For some odd reason he wished he had.
Thus, the "Babylon" in the title refers to the ancient city renowned for its wealth, decadence and vice, referring to the way that Americans were able to live the "high life" in Paris before the Great Depression.
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