Fitzgerald in “Babylon Revisited”

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History and Reflections in "Babylon Revisited" and "Chrysanthemums"

History can have a significant impact on a person's present and future lives in "Babylon Revisited." Everybody has a unique perspective on the past. Others want to remain in the memories, despite others' attempts to dismiss the past in order to build a better future. The greatest strategy, though, is to reflect on your past errors and learn from them so that you can avoid them in the future.

Similar to this, John Steinbeck's "Chrysanthemums" focuses on Elisa Allen, who is portrayed as weak in her daily chores. Elisa's religious connections are explained by Steinbeck, as well as her perspective on them. The thesis focuses on the family relationships, the purity of paternal love and transition in the stories.

Family Relations and Love

Family relation is the most critical issue to ensure people live in harmony. In the story, "Babylon Revisited," Charlie has returned to Paris where we see him in Ritz bar. The choices he makes creates disbelieve that he is renouncing his past ways. Wales finds the silence of the bar significant. The return to the tavern is more depressing than the initial visits. It is seen when he tells the barman that his return was to see her daughter. Despite the barman knowing Wales well, he was not aware if he had a girl. It symbolized behavior of Wales when he was initially in Paris; his primary motivation was not centered on the family life.

Consequently, in the story, "The Chrysanthemums," the relationship between Henry and Elisa is full of politeness and respect. Though it is not satisfying to Elisa as when she meets Tinker, Elisa begins stripping away her masculine gardening outfit and fixing her hair. She is charmed by the Tinker's interest in her flowers despite been unknown man. Similarly, the respect is seen when Elisa starts describing her instinctive way with chrysanthemums; she is kneeling down.

The Purity of Paternal Love

The relationship between husband and wife is determined by the purity of their paternal love to each other. Fitzgerald in "Babylon Revisited" shows that the love that daughters and fathers feel is a pure love that the world needs. Other kinds of love irrespective of how passionate they may be, are full of mistrust and complications. Helen and Charlie abused and anguished each other regardless of the love they had. Helen kissed another man, which caused Charlie to lock her out in a snowstorm. On the other hand, Marion and Lincoln demonstrate a different kind of marital love, which is genuine but filled with family difficulties and financial crisis. Marion and Lincoln considering them as a family although he thinks that their distrust for each other makes their loveless pure attract Charlie. Familial and marital love can fall apart, but the love between parents and children is the strongest.

However, in the story of "The Chrysanthemums," there is dissatisfaction due to failure to express oneself as well as lack of fulfilling one's emotional needs. For instance, Elisa lonely emotionally, sexually and physically. The fact that she is a woman and undertaking tasks like cleans and gardens while men business and in the ranches. She is underprivileged of personal, social and sexual fulfillment in the world that is male-dominated. However, the struggles to find satisfaction and the desire of escaping her isolation world.

Transformation and Personal Change

Change transforms people to move from certain beliefs and ideologies. As throughout the story, Elisa suffers regression from the masculine role. Due to her frustration in the world which is male-dominated, she lets go of the dreams for liberation thus allowing herself to become what the society expects of her. The woman is portrayed according to the Steinbeck period where Elisa is a representative of the females of the 1930s. Nevertheless, Charlie refuses to undergo transition through repeating her previous misdeeds. His story seems that he will never change what he had in the past and has in the present. Likewise, there is no money which can help him in the world as he is left empty-handed. For any person to change, he or she must put more effort and time as well as remembering the past mistakes and learning from them.

Modern World and Dissolution of Tradition

In the story of Babylon revisited, focuses on the current modern world, which is marked by intentional and substantial discontinuity with tradition. This breakdown includes resilient reaction against recognized political, regional, and social opinions. In the modern days, marriages are full of mistrust where there is no respect and loyalty. For instance, the relationship between Charlie and Helen is a direct symbol of what is happening in the current days. Similarly, people refuse to turn out of the activities that are non-beneficial to them hence embracing the deeds. Charlie did not correct his reckless behaviors that learned him into losing his daughter.


In conclusion, Elisa is painted as weak as she is an isolated and detached woman. She started out been strong but eventually ended up weak and resentful. Chrysanthemums generated distraction from her isolation and loneliness due to the sensation of insufficiency. Moreover, Charlie's attempts of regaining her daughter back fails due to his drunken behavior.

March 23, 2023

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