- Scott Fitzgerald‘s short story “Babylon Revisited, is about a troubled father trying to start over. Charlie Wales, the main character, says he has been sober for a year and a half. But being a “recovering alcoholic for a year and a half he spends an awful lot of time in a bar. For heaven sakes the story opens in a bar. As the story unfolds we find out that Charlie has a daughter named, Honoria. She is currently living in Paris with her aunt and uncle. Acting almost like a foster home by today’s standards. Charlie is trying to get Honoria to come back home with him to America. However, Marion Peters, his sister-in-law is not giving in to this idea. She does not like Charlie at all. Reader’s find out it’s because he locked his wife, Marion’s sister and their two daughters out of the house on a cold winter night. Charlie says she died of heart problems, but Marion doesn’t believe him, “How much you were responsible for Helen’s death” (Fitzgerald).
Although, Charlie he had a rough past he is ready to move on. However starting over is easier said then done. This story is very realistic, there are thousands of parents that have lost custody of their children and fought to get them back. When Charlie finds out that his chances of getting back his daughter are lost he gets extremely drunk. He even mentions,” Again the memory of those days sweet over him like a nightmare” (Fitzgerald).
After reading “Babylon Revisited”, unlike most of the other readings we have talked about I was able to take something away from the story. Fitzgerald is an amazing author, he has written several stories that readers can learn life lessons from. In this story readers can take way that we don’t always get second chances. Charlie will probably never get the chance to raise his daughter, because of his poor decisions in the past.
Fitzgerald, F. Scott. “Babylon Revisited.” The American Tradition in Literature. New York: Mc-Graw-Hill, 2009. Print.
Jean Toomer describes farming in such a cold, dark, evil way. I think that Toomer’s point was to show that life working on the farm was terrible. Not just working on a farm, but being a slave on the farm. That can come from how he describes the equipment. Not once but twice in the poem does he use black to describe the physical charartiersic of the reaper and the horses. The poem reminds readers how salves were seen as property, much as horses and reapers are. Slave owners did not think that their salves had a purpose in life besides working on the farm. This is what the reaper is representing. The reaper’s sole purpose on the farm is to the crop. While the rat, “And there, a field rat, startled, squealing bleeds, his belly close to the ground. I see the blade, blood-stained, continue cutting weeds and shade”(Toomer). I believe that Toomer was trying to show how “heart less” farm working made slaves. They would stop caring for the less fortunate. This perception of the poem could also come from a line in Toomer’s, Harvest Song. Which states, “I am a reaper whose muscles set at sundown.” (Toomer).
Jean Toomer was an important figure of the Harlem Renaissance and even modernism. Often writing his poetry, short stories, and essays about African Americans. Toomer’s, “Reapers” reminds me of several poets that we have read and talked about in class. This story can be interpreted in many ways. Some people believe that the field rat represents the slave. While the reaper represents the whites allowing the slaves to be beaten and crushed to death.
We are all dying. As a society we try not to think about this too much. We are have been raised to fear the unknown. For many of us the greatest unknown is: What is life like after death? This often causes a fear of death.
In Claude McKay’s “If We Must Die” he talks about how “we” ( the majority of people in society) die in certain ways. Some people what want to go down in a peaceful way, “So that our precious blood may not be shed” (McKay). Others want to go down in a brave way, “If we must die—oh, let us nobly die,” (McKay). Perhaps we can all agree that we want to go down being remembered. We want people to remember us after we are no longer here in this physical world. McKay wrote, “Shall be constrained to honor us though dead” (McKay).
McKay is using an ABAB pattern that allows the poem to flow better. Unlike several of the poems we have covered in class, this poem is pretty straightforward. I’m not getting a sense that he is trying to have a hidden meaning. He just flat out tells readers that he is talking about death. Must of the authors that we have covered try to be discreet about their inner feelings and fears. I really liked this poem, I was able to understand it without having to read between the lines. There’s no need for readers to read this over and over again to get McKay’s point.
McKay, Claude. If We Must Die. Print.