3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Babylon Revisited is Timeless and Apt,
This review is from: Babylon Revisited: And Other Stories (Paperback)
The Book of Revelations in the New Testament is the most likely source from which F. Scott Fitzgerald draws his "Babylon Revisited". In Revelations, Babylon the Great (also an ancient Near Eastern city of materialism and sexual excess) is the `mother of whores' and the source of all evil in the Roman Empire. She is said to have been defeated by God and judged for her excessive sin. Upon her destruction, the saints rejoice while the merchants and hedonistic pleasure seekers morn. Symbolism abounds in this revision of the timeless tale and the choice of Fitzgerald's title could not be more appropriate.
Charlie himself is the regeneration of Babylon. During the economic boom of the 20's, Charlie and his wife lived life to its fullest and most shallow degree. They partied until sunup. They squandered wealth. We even get the impression that there was a significant amount of infidelity existing on both sides. As with Babylon, Charlie is punished: The stock market crash in 1929 liberates him of a fortune, "his child [is] taken from his control, [and] his wife escaped to a grave in Vermont."
As with Babylon, Charlie's fall had its rejoicers and mourners. Marion, his wife's bereaved sister, saw Charlie's fall as an opportunity to gain control of his child, and with sincere intentions rid her family of the sinner. Though she doesn't expressly rejoice in her brother-in-laws demise, she does blame him for her sister's death and understands why his life has turned out askew. Duncan and Lorraine, on the other hand, mourned the loss of their sinister partner in indulgence.
This story is complete with all of the historic reference and symbolism that has come to define F. Scott Fitzgerald. What a fantastic, unbelievably creative writer. It's amazing how timeless his writings are, and "Babylon Revisited" is the perfect example of that fact. It really makes you think about your own life.