How does Fitzgerald demonstrate the ideas of the modernist period in "Babylon Revisited"? Who is the protagonist and what is the conflict?
Fitzgerald wrote Babylon Revisited in 1930, a time in between the two World Wars and the Great Depression, but just after a period of economic prosperity and decadence known as the Roaring Twenties, a period that profited Charlie Wales, the protagonist and his wife Helen.
Charlie's internal conflict is defined by his grief and guilt over the loss of his wife, who died as a result of getting a terrible chill from walking to her sister's apartment when Charlie locked her out because he was angry at her. He feels responsible for Helen's death which is attributed to a failed heart. He is also battling his own disease, alcoholism.
His external conflicts are with Marion Peters his sister-in-law, who has legal custody of Honoria, his daughter, and his old friends in Paris, like Lorraine Quarreles.
Charlie has returned to Paris to get his daughter back from Marion, but she is not easily convinced that he is in the right circumstances either physically, emotionally or financially to take care of Honoria. Charlie tries to convince Marion that he is ready.
".... I worked hard for ten years, you know—until I got lucky in the market, like so many people. Terribly lucky. It didn't seem any use working any more, so I quit. It won't happen again." In Marion's mind, Charlie's responsibility for Helen's death is inseparable from his financial success: he should feel guilt for both.