Babylon Revisited: And Other Stories | Study Guide

F. Scott Fitzgerald

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Babylon Revisited: And Other Stories | Plot Summary



The Ice Palace

Sally Carrol Happer, who hails from a small, obscure town in southern Georgia, dreams of escape through marriage. Her beau, Harry Bellamy, hails from the North. On a visit to stay with his family, Sally Carrol feels uncomfortable and, ultimately, panicked. She returns to Georgia with her life much the same as it was when she started out.

May Day

In New York City in May 1919, a Yale fraternity dance brings together a disparate group of characters. These figures include the old college friends Philip Dean and Gordon Sterrett, Edith Bradin, Jewel Hudson, Peter Himmel, and the demobilized soldiers Carrol Key and Gus Rose. The relationships of the characters are complex, centering on money, romantic attachment, and alcohol. The story follows the characters' tense interactions, culminating in Sterrett's suicide.

The Diamond as Big as the Ritz

At an Eastern boarding school, young John T. Unger befriends Percy Washington, the son of a fabulously wealthy Montana gentleman. Percy invites John home to visit him. The story traces the family's history and its bizarre and increasingly ominous activities at their secluded estate. Finally, John and Percy's two sisters, Kismine and Jasmine, escape.

Winter Dreams

Dexter Green, a young golf caddy in the Midwest, falls in love with a bewitching, spoiled brat of a girl named Judy Jones. The changes of their relationship take a toll on Dexter. He intentionally courts another young lady named Irene Scheerer in order to make Judy jealous and draw her back to him. Dexter finally comes to realize, however, that Judy has represented a fantasy for him rather than a real person.


This tale centers on the strained emotions of an 11-year-old boy, Rudolph Miller, and of a Roman Catholic priest, Father Adolphus Schwartz. Rudolph is brutalized by a despotic father, Carl, for whom religion is a club rather than a creed. In the central scenes in the story, Rudolph agonizes over making his confession and then receiving Holy Communion in church. At the end of the tale, Father Schwartz suffers from mystical seizures that alarm the child.

The Rich Boy

Anson Hunter, scion of a wealthy family based in Manhattan and Connecticut, falls in love with Paula Legendre, a woman from California. The egotistical and selfish Anson strives to dominate Paula and to dictate his own terms for their relationship. When Paula accepts another suitor, Anson vengefully begins an affair with Dolly Karger, but this relationship founders. Anson becomes a perpetual bachelor, and even Paula's death in childbirth fails to move him.

The Freshest Boy

Basil Lee, an adolescent from the Midwest, is the most unpopular boy at St. Regis School. His modest family circumstances and naïveté hinder his acceptance by the other boys, even though he plays football. However, when his family unexpectedly offers him the chance to study in Europe, Basil remains at St. Regis. With the passage of time his situation there gradually improves and he gains more acceptance.

Babylon Revisited

In Paris, reformed widower Charlie Wales struggles to regain custody of his young daughter, Honoria, who is being cared for by his sister-in-law and brother-in-law, Marion and Lincoln Peters. Paris has changed: the stock market crash and the onset of the depression have emptied the city of wealthy American expatriates. Charlie has recouped his fortunes and reined in his alcoholism, but his stern sister-in-law remains skeptical of Charlie's ability to be a good parent. When his old friends Duncan Schaeffer and Lorraine Quarries show up drunk at the Peterses' apartment, the matter of Honoria's custody is deferred for another six months.

Crazy Sunday

Joel Coles, a writer just starting out in the film industry in Hollywood, California, becomes embroiled in the social and intimate affairs of Miles Calman, a director, and his wife, Stella. Miles is having an affair with Eva Goebel, Stella's closest friend. Stella invites Joel to escort her to a party while Miles is away, and Joel realizes he is being used as a pawn in their conflict. When the news arrives that Miles has been killed in a plane crash on his return trip, Stella collapses in grief and guilt, and Joel sadly and bitterly departs from the Calmans' house.

The Long Way Out

A doctor tells a case history of Mrs. King, a young schizophrenic patient in a sanitarium near Philadelphia. She was prepared to depart for a holiday to Virginia Beach when her husband's car was hit by a truck. The sanitarium staff at first told Mrs. King her husband had been delayed, and she refused to believe her physician when he later tried to inform her of George's death. Paradoxically, Mrs. King's acceptance in the charade of her husband's prolonged "delay" became an example of tranquility to the other sanitarium patients.

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