In "Babylon Revisited," what is the relationship between domestic and economic issues and are these elements the heart of the story?

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The setting of "Babylon Revisited" is the 1930s, a period of hedonistic irresponsibility.  A parallel is drawn between this economic period and the personal relationships in this story. 

For instance, like the stock market, Claude Fessenden who frequented the Ritz bar in his prosperous days, suffers a total failure of character, charging his lunches, dining, and drinks for a year and then writing a bad check for the bill.

To see who will pay for the drinks, Charlie and Alix shake dice, a symbol of decadence.

The personal relationship of Charlie with his wife has deteriorated and he has squandered sums,"as an offering to destiny that he might not remember the things most worth remembering..."  Indeed, this wasting of money and love and time are elements at the heart of this story.

At the end of the story, Paul of the Ritz bar asks Charlie, "I hear that you lost a lot in the crash," Charlie replies, "I did...but I lost everything in the boom,"  For Charlie the relationship of domestic happiness and economic security are inversely related.

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Babylon Revisited

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