What is the significance of the title "Babylon Revisited" in F. Scott Fitzgerald's short story?

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The title of the story is based on an allusion to the ancient city of Babylon, which was a symbol of orgiastic decadence.

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The title of F. Scott Fitzgerald's "Babylon Revisited" is significant in its denotation and its connotation as it becomes a metaphor for Paris and Charlie's return to it. 

1.  Babylon was the capital of Babylonian, a city renowned for its materialism, luxury, sensualness; it has become a metaphor for wickedness.  Fitzgerald suggests, then, that the city of Paris is much like Babylon in the twenties as wealthy expatriates came there to engage in much excess of drinking and debauchery:

He [Charlie] remembered thousand-franc notes given to an orchestra for playing a single number, hundred-franc notes tossed to a doorman for calling a cab.

In a letter to Charlie, Lorraine recalls their excessive behavior:

....We did have such good times that crazy spring, like the night you and I stole the butcher's tricycle, and the time we tried to call on the president and you had the old derby rim and wire cane....

2.  Babylon, albeit a city of great power, came crashing down just as Paris and its American residents suffered economic losses when the Stock Market in the United States crashed in 1929, and many Americans had to return to the United States.  Certainly, Charlie and all his decadent friends in Paris suffered from this crash.  This failure in the U.S. is mirrored in the characterization of Claude Fessenden about whom Charlie asks the bartender Alix:

Alix lowered his voice confidentially:  "He's in Paris, but he doesn't come here any more.  Paul doesn't allow it.  He ran up a bill of thirty thousand francs, charging all his drinks and his lunches, and usally his dinner, for more than a year.  And when Paul finally told him he had to pay, he gave him a bad check."

3.  By Charlie's return to Paris--Babylon revisited--Fitzgerald provides a more in-depth insight into the meaning of his visit and the characterization of Charlie.  When Charlie enters the same bar where he drank years ago, he revisits the place where money was thrown around and now there is the suggestion of something unsound, his irresponsibility.  Charlie calls for dice and "shook with Alix for the drink."

Revisiting Babylon is unsound as it is a return to the place of downfall.  But, Charlie has hopes,

...he wanted to jump back a whole generation and trust in character again as the eternally valuable element.  Everything wore out.

Unfortunately, Charlie yet retains his delusions.  For instance, he believes that he can drink just one drink a day and not be an alcoholic.  He deludes himself in entering the customary bar in Paris where he encounters people from his decadent past who prove to be his nemesis when they arrive at the home of his sister-in-law who has custody of his daughter Honoria.  And, just as he failed when he and his wife Helen lived in Paris, Charlie again fails in his attempts to regain custody of his little daughter.  Yet deluded, he concludes, "...they couldn't make him pay forever."

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Explain why F. Scott Fitzgerald titled "Babylon Revisited" as such. What significance does the title have and what does it relate to?

The title is based on an allusion to the ancient city of Babylon, which was a symbol of orgiastic decadence. Note how this fits into the plot of the short story - Charlie is returning to France for the first time since the Wall Street Crash. Before this point, Americans in Paris lived frenzied, decadent lives, and this story is full of memories of this time:

He remembered thousand-franc notes given to an orchestra for playing a single number, hundred-franc notes tossed to a doorman for calling a cab.

However, as he comments, there had been a price for this wastefulness - the loss of his daughter, which is why he has returned to the site of so much folly of waste, to reclaim his daughter.

Thus the title is based on an allusion that links Paris in its hey-day before the Wall Street Crash of 1929 with the ancient hedonistic city of Babylon and refers to the various excesses that Americans were able to indulge in at that time.

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What is the significance of F. Scott Fitzgerald's short story "Babylon Revisited"?

Fitzgerald's "Babylon Revisited" is significant as it is a clear example of the Modernist time period. This period is considered to have taken place between the years 1900-1950. During this time, several world and U.S. events occurred that shook the very foundation of authority, tradition, and both social and individual identity. Examples of these events include the two World Wars, the Jazz Age, the Harlem Renaissance, the Stock Market Crash, and subsequently, the Great Depression. Charlie Wales, the protagonist of "Babylon Revisited," is an example of a modernist man. He lived during the Jazz Age, in which he partied lavishly and wasted money like it was growing on trees. After the Stock Market Crash, however, he was back to square one. He had to not only pick up the pieces of his financial losses, but of his broken personal life as well. This was common of many people during this time period. Fitzgerald would have known this all too well. 

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What is the significance of F. Scott Fitzgerald's short story "Babylon Revisited"?

The person who previously answered your question provided a fine summary of the story’s plot and a good overview of some of its major themes.  I will therefore focus on one representative passage from the story and try to discuss some significant aspects of that passage.

At one point in the middle of the story, Charlie happens to use the word “damn” during a discussion with his bitter sister-in-law, Marion, who blames Charlie for the death of her sister, Charlie’s deceased wife.  Marion tells Charlie not to swear at her, prompting Charlie to consider the situation in which he and his daughter find themselves:

Charlie became increasingly alarmed at leaving Honoria in this atmosphere of hostility against himself; sooner or later it would come out, in a word here, a shake of the head there, and some of that distrust would be irrevocably implanted in Honoria. But he pulled his temper down out of his face and shut it up inside him; he had won a point, for Lincoln realized the absurdity of Marion's remark and asked her lightly since when she had objected to the word "damn."

This passage is significant for a number of reasons, including the following:

  • It implies Charlie’s sense of powerlessness, a major theme of the story. He cannot undo what has happened, and he is literally at the mercy of the angry Marion.
  • It exemplifies how important regaining Honoria now is to Charlie. Indeed, it regaining her is his major motivation and goal.
  • It emphasizes Charlie’s sense of loneliness, another important theme of the story.
  • It emphasizes Charlie’s fear that he may become even lonelier if Marion can turn Honoria against him.
  • It illustrates Charlie’s efforts at self-control; he pulls his temper down in the same way that he tries to control his alcoholism.
  • It illustrates the idea that Charlie’s relations with Marion are a kind of muted, implicit combat, with Marion as the aggressor.
  • It reveals that the significantly-named Lincoln is fair-minded and thus may prove a valuable ally in Charlie’s skirmishes with Marion.
  • It raises the possibility that although Marion is powerful now, she may lose her power through the kinds of foolish remarks she has just made.  This episode thus adds to the suspense of the story, raising the real possibility that Charlie may indeed someday soon regain his lost Honoria.

All the themes, motifs, and techniques just discussed are relevant to, and present in, the story as a whole.

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