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Charlie As The Victim Of Circumstance In F. Scott Fitzgerald's Babylon Revisited

572 words - 2 pages

Charlie as the Victim of Circumstance in F. Scott Fitzgerald's Babylon Revisited

The story's protagonist, Charlie Wales, is less a victim of bad luck than of circumstance, both socio-economic and personal. Charlie does not deserve Marion's continued denial of custody of his daughter, but the story is less about what Charlie does or does not deserve than how easily one's life can spin out of control due to unforeseen circumstance.

Marion and Charlie dislike each other on a visceral level. Marion's feelings are not solely caused by Charlie's alcoholism and past behavior. She focuses upon Charlie a hatred borne of her resentment of her family's financial situation, as evidenced by Lincoln's comment to Charlie over lunch: "I think Marion felt there was some kind of injustice to it-you not even working toward the end, and getting richer and richer." (p. 15) Her hatred is also fueled by her physical illness and her unfounded belief that Helen's marriage to Charlie was not happy. When Charlie locked Helen out during a snowstorm and Helen later became ill from exposure, Marion felt the incident "happened at a point in her life where the discouragement of ill health and adverse circumstances made it necessary for her to believe in tangible villainy and a tangible villain." (p. 13-14) For her, Charlie was the embodiment of that villain. Though the argument that resulted in the incident was the fault of both parties, Marion is unwilling or unable to consider Helen an equal party to Charlie's excesses. Marion's hatred of Charlie makes it impossible for her to impartially judge his attempts to rebuild his life. When she questions, "How long are you going to stay sober, Charlie?" (p. 12) at dinner...

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