Babylon Revisited


F. Scott Fitzgerald

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Themes and Colors
Wealth and Poverty Theme Icon
Home and Family Theme Icon
Transformation and Redemption Theme Icon
Alcohol, Immoderation, and Collapse Theme Icon
LitCharts assigns a color and icon to each theme in Babylon Revisited, which you can use to track the themes throughout the work.

Wealth and Poverty

“Babylon Revisited” takes place one year after the stock market crash of 1929, in the early years of the Great Depression. Charlie Wales revisits Paris, the city where he and his wife lived lavishly during the height of the market boom of the 1920s, only to find that the bars and hotels he once frequented are all but deserted, “the big party” having come to a crashing halt. Fitzgerald portrays the relative austerity of life…

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Home and Family

In the aftermath of his catastrophic recklessness during the market boom of the 1920s, Charlie has begun to rebuild his life. He’s no longer interested in the frivolous relationships that once amused him, for he realizes now that they come and go like money. His sole focus has become, instead, securing a home and a family for himself. As such, the central tension in “Babylon Revisited” is the question of whether Charlie Wales’ sister-in-law, Marion

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Transformation and Redemption

In “Babylon Revisited,” Charlie Wales reconciles himself to his past by revisiting the city where his life fell apart. As Charlie sees it, his return is the culmination of a long process of personal transformation, as it provides an opportunity for him to not only reflect on how much he has changed since leaving Paris, but also to redeem himself in the eyes of his family. However, Fitzgerald leaves some ambiguity around the question of…

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Alcohol, Immoderation, and Collapse

In “Babylon Revisited,” Charlie’s life is in shambles as a direct consequence of his abuse of alcohol. Although the story deals directly with other forms of immoderation and vice—including greed and promiscuity—Fitzgerald uses the story of Charlie’s struggle with alcoholism to encapsulate his moral point about immoderate behavior inevitably leading to collapse. In this way, Charlie’s story echoes the economic cycle of “boom and bust” that led to the Great Depression, which serves as…

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