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Babylon Revisited

F. Scott Fitzgerald

Dialogue

Themes, Motifs, and Symbols

Structure

“Babylon Revisited” conveys strong and painful feelings, principally through the use of dialogue. Some of the most fraught exchanges in the story occur between Charlie and Marion. Charlie’s words make it clear that he is desperate to get Honoria back, enough to plan almost every phrase he utters and pause he takes. He stresses his healthy income to prove that he can provide for his daughter, but he drops the topic the moment he senses that Lincoln is growing annoyed with it. He coaches himself through the emotional conversation about Honoria’s future, silently reminding himself that he has to control his temper in front of Marion if he wants Honoria. The care with which he chooses his words and his self-control demonstrate how desperately he wants to be with his daughter. These conversations are not one-sided, however. Through Marion’s curt and cutting responses, we know that she loved her sister, Helen, very much, strongly dislikes Charlie, but only wants the best for Honoria.

Charlie’s conversations with Honoria are equally emotional, albeit much happier. Honoria repeats the word dad when saying hello or goodbye to Charlie, a kind of incantation that conveys how much she loves him. Their conversations can be serious at times, such as when Honoria says that she doesn’t want to go to the toy store because she’s worried about the family’s finances. Their conversations can also be comical, and a few moments later, Charlie asks her whether she’s married or single, to which she playfully replies that she’s single. Their dialogue is realistic and entertaining, but it also reveals the characteristics of their relationship. They don’t know each other well, but they like and respect each other and enjoy spending time together. Fitzgerald’s portrayal of this father-daughter relationship is extremely memorable, vivid, and true to life, and it is accomplished largely through the use of dialogue.

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