Return to Babylon essay“ He would come back some day; they couldn’t make him pay forever. But he wanted his child, and nothing was much good now, beside that fact. He wasn’t young any more, with a lot of nice thoughts and dreams to have by himself. He was absolutely sure Helen wouldn’t have wanted him to be so alone.”The final paragraph in the story shows how much Charlie loved his daughter, and how much he needs her to complete his life.
I feel that in “Babylon Revisited” Charlie was treated unfairly and should have won the custody of Honoria. Charlie’s regret of how he lived in the past is proved repeatedly throughout the story and even with the hardship of losing his wife and daughter, Charlie was still able to put his life back together. The mistakes he made in the past were not all his fault; there was a problem in the stock market that put a heavy burden on his shoulders.
He has done more than enough to show Marion that he has changed and is capable of taking care of Honoria. However, the story may also be a bit biased considering that the narrator may not be a reliable person. There are also certain situations in the story, which questions Charlie’s sincerity about how much he has changed. I think that Charlie’s love for Honoria is the biggest reason for him to regain her custody. Throughout the story, Charlie has expressed how much he loves Honoria and how much he needs her in his life. Honoria also expresses how much she loves her father and how much she misses him. She tells her father more than once that she would rather live with him than with her Aunt Marion. To separate a father and daughter from each other is both devastating and cruel. It is hard to understand why Marion would not let Charlie have Honoria, when Honoria expresses so much love for her father. “From behind the maid who opened the door darted a lovely little girl of nine who shrieked ‘Daddy!’ and flew up, struggling like a fish, into his arms. She pulled his head around by one ear and set her cheek against his. ‘My old pie,’ he said ‘Oh, daddy, daddy, daddy, dads, dads, dads!’The narrator does not hesitate to show how much Honoria and Charlie care for each other. Though Honoria was just a little girl, growing up without a father is still harsh. Still her love for Charlie is unconditional, and questions about the past are not brought up. Their strong relationship is almost invincible, and though love cannot always keep a family together, it is a start. Marion does see how much love is between Honoria and her father, and seems to be bitter about it. I think that she wanted Honoria to be as hateful to Charlie as she was. Still living in the past, Marion just does not want to forgive Charlie for what he did to her sister“I try to think what she would have wanted me to do. Frankly, from the night you did that terrible thing you haven’t really existed for me. I can’t help that. She was my sister.”However, I also try to sympathize with Marion, she did loose her sister and is trying to do what is right for Honoria. Though Charlie does love Honoria, he still might not be responsible enough to take care of her. I think that Marion just does not want Charlie to make the same mistake again and bring Honoria down with him. Every day Charlie has regretted his past and everyday he tries to redeem himself by working hard. However, as I look at the situation he was in, I notice that his actions were not all his fault. Stress from the crash in the market had a big role on his heavy drinking. There were many people that were affected during this depression, and Charlie was just one of them. He explains in the story how he gave Helen full guardianship because he was in such a rut due to the market. Everything just seemed to hit him all at once and he dealt with it in a way many people might have. “…When I consented to the guardianship, I was flat on my back in a sanitarium and the market had cleaned me out. I knew I’d acted badly, and I thought if it would bring any peace to Helen, I’d agree to anything. But now it’s different. I’m functioning, I’m behaving damn well…”Looking at what Charlie has done in the past to make things right, I see a big improvement. He basically lost everything important to him, his wife, daughter, and his lifestyle. What I admire about him most, is how he learned from his mistakes and instead of feeling sorry for himself he got back on his feet and started making changes. He used Honoria as his motivation to put what was left of his life back together. He has been sober for over a year, and has plenty of money to support Honoria. Charlie understands that he messed up and I think admitting that was a big step to take. “…It would be silly for me to deny that about three years ago I was acting badly… but that’s over. As I told you, I haven’t had more than a drink a day for over a year, and I take that drink deliberately so that the idea of alcohol won’t get too big in my imagination. You see the idea?”I still do not get the full concept of his one drink a day stunt. I understand that he does it to show his control, but I still think that it would be a better idea if he did not drink at all. This is the only concern I have about Charlie’s responsibility. But as I looked at the situation closer, I became more confident that Charlie would not start drinking again. I noticed that when Charlie found out that he was not going to get Honoria back, he still did not drink anymore than his daily whisky. If he did not break down during his lowest moment, why would he start drinking at his highest? It would not make any sense to ruin everything that he had worked so hard for. I think that the story shows how much Charlie has done to win back his daughter. The narrator did an excellent job of showing the strengths Charlie has and giving excuses to his weaknesses. The way the narrator makes Charlie seem as though he does not miss his past, is a bit sneaky. The scenes where Charlie visited the old bars and pubs seemed at first a bit confusing. Why did he go back to those places? Shouldn’t he be trying to forget them? However, as I re read the story I notice how the narrator makes it seem that Charlie was just curious how the place was like without being drunk.
“He left soon after dinner, but not to go home. He was curious to see Paris by night with clearer and more judicious eyes than those of other days…” The narrator also makes Charlie seem as though he regrets what had happened in this city. “…I spoiled this city for myself. I didn’t realize it, but the days came alone one after another, and then two years were gone, and everything was gone, and I was gone.”It made me wonder how trust worthy the narrator was. As I analyzed both sides of the argument, I still feel as though Charlie deserved his daughter. The fact that the narrator might be unreliable is not a good enough reason for me to believe that Charlie is not responsible enough. I think that we have to give the narrator a certain amount of trust because he is the one telling the story and we have no other sources to compare with. If the narrator cannot be considered reliable then the story itself should not be trustworthy enough to read. So we must deal with the facts that are given to us and base most of the decisions on them. With this in mind I look at the situation evenly and try not to fully believe the narrator but still consider what he is saying. I understand that Charlie made a big mistake and hurt not only himself, but those that loved him. There is no excuse for what he did. However, I still believe that the strong bond that is between Honoria and Charlie is unbreakable. Being raised in a family where the strength of love has endured all types of hardships, I have experienced that nothing could ever sever those connections. Loving someone does not mean that Honoria or Marion should try to forget the mistakes Charlie had made or the heartaches he has given them. But instead, to love someone is to learn how to understand and most importantly to forgive.
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