Study Guide

Honoria Wales in Babylon Revisited

By F. Scott Fitzgerald

Honoria Wales

Honoria, Charles's nine-year-old daughter, also takes on meaning in several different levels. On a very basic level, Charlie wants her back because she is his daughter and he's trying to rebuild his family after losing everything in a decade of drunken antics. Honoria's name signifies that she represents something much more – Charlie's honor. We talk about this more in "Character Clues," so check that out. Additionally, her character has biographical relevance for Fitzgerald because his own daughter, Scottie, was nine at the time he wrote "Babylon Revisited," and because Fitzgerald himself was thought to be an unfit father by Zelda Fitzgerald's sister (see "Genre" for more details).

Charlie's interactions with Honoria in the text are largely dominated by his fear of running out of time.

At the Empire, Honoria proudly refused to sit upon her father's folded coat. She was already an individual with a code of her own, and Charlie was more and more absorbed by the desire of putting a little of himself into her before she crystallized utterly. It was hopeless to try to know her in so short a time. (2.58)

"If we wait much longer I'll lose Honoria's childhood and my chance for a home." He shook his head, "I'll simply lose her, don't you see?" (3.30)

His conversation with Honoria over lunch seems to illustrate this last fear particularly well. Charlie has a conversation with her in which he pretends that they are both adults, and that they are strangers. This is basically his fear of what will happen to their relationship over time; he'll come back to find that she is an adult, and that the two of them are perfect strangers.

This concern over time is particularly important at the end of "Babylon Revisited," when Charlie supposes that "they couldn't make him pay forever" and he'll try again in six months or so (5.17). The bitterness of his reconciliation to the situation is that he can't just keep trying, because he really is running out of time. And not only is Honoria getting older quickly, but Charlie is also aging himself: "He wasn't young any more, with a lot of nice thoughts and dreams to have by himself" (5.17).

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