Sobriety In The Great Gatsby

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In the plains between two rivers once sat the ancient Mesopotamian city of Babylon. To the Greeks and the Hebrews, it was known as the land of plenty, where goods and riches flowed between hands almost seamlessly. Babylon was a place of luxury, decadence and sin. All of these traits can also be attributed to Fitzgerald’s once glimmering Paris in Babylon: Revisited. In this story, Charlie finds himself in a changed city. The place that was once a haven for him, his wife and his friends, had soured. Charlie’s Paris was no longer Babylon, for it had become something else. Serving as a terrible reminder of all of the mistakes that he had made in his formative years, Paris is an obstacle for Charlie to overcome. The appeal of its extravagance is gone. In a society bustling with booze, the role of sobriety in Fitzgerald’s short story is an essential one. For Charlie, sobriety--- as…show more content…
Though his days spent running around Paris are at times described fondly, ultimately Charlie’s sobriety forces him to recognize that he wasted much of his life on boozing and partying. When he returns to Paris he does mistakenly reminisce, saying to Marion “We were a sort of royalty, almost infallible, with a sort of magic around us” (983). He hesitates to tell her this because she is an outsider, who never experience what Charlie and her sister experienced in Paris. She was never caught up in the whirlwind, so she does not recognize the “magic” that Charlie describes. But Charlie also knows that telling her this is a mistake, because he, too, understands that the magic was only drunken illusion. He goes on to say, “I spoiled this city for myself. I didn’t realize it, but the days came along one after another and then two years were gone, and everything was gone, and I was gone.”(982) Alcohol dulled Charlie’s senses, and after years of partying, he could no longer enjoy things, so Paris, in all of its beauty, lost its

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