Character Analysis from “Babylon Revisited” The love between a parent and their child can never be broken. And that is proven to be true in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s story “Babylon Revisited”. Even though the main character, Charlie Wales, loses custody of his daughter, Honoria, to his sister-in-law; he does everything he can to regain it. In order for this to happen he had to completely turn his life around from one that centered around booze and throwing money around, to that of a caring father with a steady job who doesn’t go out drinking until the wee hours of the next morning.
Throughout the story Charlie Wales has to preserver through the sins of his past to become a better person for not just himself, but for his daughter as well. “Every story hinges on the actions undertaken by its main character, or protagonist” (Gioia, Gwynn 855). And in this story there is no doubt who the protagonist is, it is Charlie Wales. He made his money during the stock market boom in the early 1920’s and moved his wife, Helen, and their daughter to Paris to enjoy life. It was there that his life turned for the worse.
As they traveled through Europe, due to his lack of a job and his new social circle, Charlie developed a major drinking problem and spent his nights drinking with buddies. This caused his relationship with his wife to sour and at one point he locked her out of the house during a storm. To add to his issues, he learns that most of his money is now gone because of the stock market crash. At this point he checks himself into a sanitarium to treat his alcoholism. According to the Annual Alcoholism Report from A. D. A.
M, “either anxiety or depression may increase the risk for self-medication with alcohol. Depression is the most common psychiatric problems with people with alcoholism or substance abuse” (Zieve, Simon 3). As gesture to his deceased wife, to show he would do anything for her, he assigns legal custody of Honoria to Helen’s sister, Marion. Charlie is really a good man who has dealt with many struggles. He has had a few antagonists get it his way throughout this story; which caused him to not seem like such a good person.
One of them would be his past. His past was an antagonist to him because it kept getting in the way and seemed very much like the cause for all that went wrong in his life. His past showed that he was a gambler with the stock market, and drunk who liked to party. This caused for many of the problems throughout the story. The worst was when he was at Marion’s house wrapping up taking custody of his daughter when two people from his past ruined it all. The two people were Lorraine and Duncan.
They barged into the house unannounced and wouldn’t take no for an answer from Charlie about going out. Even though it wasn’t his fault, it completely ruined everything he built up with Marion and now he would have to wait another 6 months or so to get his daughter. Charlie did understand that this was the past however; he wanted to move forward. He still had his undying love for his daughter that never changed. Persevere is defined as, “to persist in a state, enterprise, or undertaking in spite of counterinfluences, opposition, or discouragement” (Merriam-Webster).
This reminds me very much of Charlie’s personality. No matter what struggles or influences that were discouraging, he was persistent in not only loving his daughter, but the fight to get her back. The story shows his perseverance at the end after he knew it would take longer to get his daughter. It said, “He would come back some day; they couldn’t make him pay forever…He was absolutely sure Helen wouldn’t have wanted him to be so alone” (Fitzgerald 262). Works Cited Fitzgerald, F.
Scott. “Babylon Revisited”. The Art of The Short Story. New York: Pearson, 2006. (247-262). Gioia, Dana and Gwyn, R. S. The Art of the Short Story. New York: Pearson Longman, 2006. “persevere” Merriam-Webster’s online Collegiate Dictionary. 2003. 24 September 2010 <http:go. galegroup. com/-literatureresourecenter-dictionary> Zieve, David, and Harvey Simon. “ALCOHOLISM. ” Alcoholism Annual Report (2010): 1-11. Health Source – Consumer Edition. EBSCO. Web. 26 Sept. 2010.