If one were to look at the words of any modern dictionary
they would find amongst them the word Babbitt. If one were
to glance, however at a dictionary from the early part of
this century, the word Babbitt would not appear. The word
Babbitt means "a self satisfied person who conforms readily
to conventional middle class ideas and ideals, especially
of business and material success" (Webster's New Universal
Unabridged Dictionary, 106). The word Babbitt, and its
subsequent meaning, comes from the 1922 novel by Sinclair
Lewis, "Babbitt". It is a novel which shows a cross section
of American middle class life through the eyes of the
ultimate conformist, George F. Babbitt. By turning
Babbitt's name into a noun "a name has been given to that
which people recognize as true to their experience of life,
but which they hadn't realized in any palpable way before"
( Love 12). Just analyzing Babbitt himself however, is not
enough if one wishes to truly recognize the beauty of
Lewis's work. One must delve deeper, under the surface,
beyond Babbitt's personality, to uncover the methods, and
the reasons behind Lewis's "madness". What must be explored
in Lewis's work is, why was Babbitt created the way he was,
and why has he become such a paradigm of American middle
class life? To truthfully, and accurately answer these
questions one must know who George F. Babbitt was, who
Sinclair Lewis was, the historical context of the 1920's,
and most importantly what Lewis wanted out of Babbitt.
George F. Babbitt is a man without an identity. His
"individuality" has been imposed on him by a world of other
things. "Just as he was an Elk, a Booster, and a member of
the chamber of commerce, just as the priests of the
Presbyterian Church determined his every religious belief
and the Senators who controlled the Republican party
decided in little smoky rooms in Washington what he should
think about disarmament, tariff, and Germany, so did the
large national advertisers fix the surface of his life, fix
what he believed to be his individuality" ( 30 ).
Babbitt is a man who does everything based on how it will
look to others. He desperately wants his son, Theodore
Roosevelt Babbitt, to attend a real university, even though
he himself confesses to have learned nothing useful at
college. Babbitt wants his son to go to college for all the
wrong reasons, he wants to be given the prestige of having
a son in a fine State institution (Love 53). He will do
anything for his son, as long as he is given proper credit
(219). Babbitt lends much of his time and energy to the
Sunday school at the Church. This, however does not come
about because of Babbitt's altruistic nature, rather he
wants the "praise and good repute" that comes with being
involved in the church (219).
Babbitt's chief characteristics are "shouting,
backslapping, and self conscious masculinity" (Light 77).
Babbitt feels that he must engage in such childish
maneuvers so that everyone is assured of his "pep, punch,
vision, red-blooded Americanism" (Schorer 327). Babbitt's
main goal is power, anyway he can get to it. He does not
want to be the average middle class man, he wants to be
like the bank president (and his close friend) William
Washington Eathorne. He wants to be "deliciously,
rigorously, coldly powerful" (218).
For Babbitt, business represents the sole purpose of
living. "At his middle class level, business not only
thrives but it is the chief cultural characteristic"
(Schorer 327). Babbitt sees his life as the new wave of
America. To Babbitt the middle class businessman is taking
over the country. He sees himself as something of a
romantic hero (Light 74). "The romantic hero was no longer
the knight, the wandering poet, the cowpuncher, the
aviator, nor the brave young district attorney, but rather
the great sales manager" (143).
Babbitt, however is neither a hero, nor a romanticist. He
lives in a closed world, like his own little hell (Schorer
333). His house is everything a house in the middle class
Floral Heights should be. " The bedroom a modest and
pleasant color scheme, after one of the best standard
designs of the decorator who did the interiors for most of
the speculative builders' houses in Zenith [Babbitt's
beloved town]...there was a dressing table of solid silver
and a standard bedside book with colored illustrations-what
particular book it was cannot be ascertained, since no one
had ever opened it. The Mattresses were triumphant modern
mattresses which had cost a great deal of money. It was a
masterpiece among bedrooms, right out of the Cheerful
Modern Houses for Medium Incomes. Only it had nothing to do
with the Babbitt's nor with any one else. If people had
ever lived and loved here, read thrillers at midnight, and
lain in beautiful indolence on a Sunday morning there were
no signs of it. It had the air of being a very good room in
a very good hotel. Every second house in Floral Heights had
a bedroom precisely like this one" (16). Babbitt is a
Platitudes necessarily come along with a conformist, and
Babbitt's choice of words is no exception. " Clichés are
the only words a Babbitt type dares to use to express
hi/her emotions. Their misunderstanding of emotion is what
makes them comic, grotesque and dangerous" (Light 78). He
can not even deal with his daughter's wish to do social
philanthropic work, without spitting out cliché after
cliché from the "wedges of socialism", to "Now look you
here!" (Light 17).
Babbitt is always looking for the weaknesses of his
friends (Love 20). This comes from his need to be the best
of his bunch, before he moves on to a more sophisticated
crowd. Babbitt actually evaluates people "by tabulating
their possessions" (Light 76). When Babbitt is able to mix
with the upper class it becomes his obsession, and as he
retells the stories of his excursions, his relationships
with the rich become more profound. For example, when Sir
Gerald Doake of Manchester was in Zenith he scarcely
noticed Babbitt's existence. On a lonely business trip to
Chicago, however Doake opted to break the monotony, and he
got drunk with Babbitt, one could call it a one night
stand. To Babbitt, however a life long friendship had
begun. Babbitt pictured himself, by chance, bumping into
Mcelvey, his college pal who had moved up in the world.
Babbitt fantasized of telling Mcelvey. " I had a fair time
in Chicago, ran around with Sir Gerald Doake a
lot...Jerry's an old friend of mine-the wife and I are
thinking of running over to England to stay with Jerry in
his castle, next year" (248). Babbitt lived for such
encounters where he could show up his friends, especially
prosperous ones like Mcelvey.
"Babbitt was virtuous the way society said he should be"
(Love 48). "He advocated, though he did not practice, the
prohibition of alcohol; he praised, though he did not obey,
the laws against motor speeding; he paid his debts; he
contributed to the church, the Red Cross, and the YMCA; he
followed the custom of his clan and cheated only as it was
sanctified by precedent" (41). Along these same lines
Babbitt was not unreasonably honest. In one section he
gives a rambling speech on the virtues of honesty, throwing
out cliché after cliché. Yet in the next breath he swindles
a poor shopkeeper out of thousands of dollars. His moral
code is derived from The Puritan business ethic "which
encourages pragmatic decisions which then fatigue the
conscience" (Light 82).
Along with the tensions Babbitt feels to make large sums
of money, he also feels the tensions of social climbing.
Babbitt along with his other metropolitan middle class
friends would like to enter the social class of the rich
(Light 82). Babbitt also feels marital tensions as he
desires many other women, yet he could never " hazard
respectability" by cheating on Myra. This prospective loss
of respectability is the sole reason for his continued
fidelity to his wife (Light 82). This is a perfect example
of how Babbitt's morals work. He does not decide for
himself whether things are right, or wrong, rather he acts
based on what society expects from him.
Babbitt speaks of red blooded family oriented America. A
place where the "ideal citizen is busier than a bird dog at
his profession...then he lights up a good cigar and shoots
out home to be with the family... Then he goes happily to
bed his conscience clear, having contributed his mite to
the prosperity of the city and to his own bank account"
(181-2). "Yet in reality Babbitt sleeps fitfully and dreams
of escape and rebellion" (Light 83). Babbitt has never done
anything to make himself, rather than society, happy
(Schorer 329). " He is prosperous but worried wanting
passionately to seize something more than motor cars and a
house before it is too late" (Light 77). Babbitt can not
foster a true disposition because he does not know what
individuality is. He dreams always of a fairy child, "a
life with a little whirl of romance and peril" (Love 48).
The fairy child is never described however, because he does
not know what this whirl of romance, and peril mean. The
fairy child is not necessarily a woman, although Babbitt
originally assumes that it is.
Babbitt's discontentment with life shows us his interior
motivations and desires. A simple glance at Babbitt's
morning routine shows just how fast his frustration is
mounting. His morning begins with his "irritability about
the wet towels in the bathroom, and the little chunks of
toast, and the socialist threat and his rebellious and
bickering children. Soon so early in the day we hear the
great burst of fatigue: Oh lord sometimes I'd like to quit
the hole game. And the office worry and detail just as bad.
And I act so damn cranky and I don't mean to, but I get so
darned tired (Light 81). Conformity can be very tiring.
Even through the quagmire of conformity, which Babbitt
represents there is a surprise. Babbitt is able to break
away from the standardized being, just a little, when the
time comes (Light 77).
"What Babbitt feels and thinks is what it is currently
proper to feel and think. Only once during the two years
that we have him under view, does he venture upon an idea
that is even remotely original - and that time [Babbitt's
attempt to liberalize himself] the heresy almost ruins him.
The lesson you may be sure is not lost upon him. No thought
will ever get a lodgment in his mind, even in the wildest
deliriums following bootleg gin, that will offer offense to
the pruderies of Vergil Gunch, President of the Boosters
club, or to those of old Mr. Eathorne, president of the
First State Bank...Babbitt has been rolled through the
mill. He emerges the very model and pattern of a forward
looking, right thinking Americano" (Mencken 22). The evils
of society, with all of its peer pressures did not allow
Babbitt to change his ways. Babbitt's fate seems to say
that under present conditions nothing will ever be achieved.
Babbitt did chase the fairy child. He tried to have a
stable loving relationship with another woman and, on the
other extreme, he went wild and slept with as many women as
he possibly could. However, "it is Babbitt's fate itself,
an ironic recognition that all his yearnings and
aspirations and attempts to escape have gone for naught",
which shows us who Babbitt really became. Babbitt's fate is
"a conclusion in which nothing is concluded" (Love 50). At
the end of the novel the reality of his wife's appendectomy
breaks his fantasy, but not all is lost. Babbitt knows that
he will always be a conformist, but he now knows that he
has a chance to break the cycle with his son. He can give
his son a chance to catch the "fairy child". It seems as if
the anti - Babbitt is speaking in the last lines of the
novel when he says to his son " Take your factory job if
you want to. Don't be scared of the family. No, nor all of
Zenith. Nor of yourself, the way I've been. Go ahead, old
man! The world is yours!" (326). Babbitt is so wonderfully
alive that you can't keep your eyes off him (Love 18).
To try and understand how, and why Sinclair Lewis created
a character the likes of Babbitt one must understand
Sinclair Lewis himself, with all his intricacies. Lewis
lived in the city but yearned for the simplicities of the
countryside, much like Babbitt (Love 11). Lewis was always
struggling for the natural rights of man to be bestowed on
everyone, a rarity in the big city. In some of Lewis's
previous works, before Babbitt, he championed these rights
before the American public. For example in The Job Lewis
portrayed a female character, Una Goldin, trying to find an
egalitarian profession. In Main Street Carol Kennicot
spends her life searching for the rights which she feels
that she, as a human being, deserves (Love 8). There are
certain unalienable rights, which apply to all people,
which Lewis felt society was not granting.
Lewis was a man of many passions. Among them "were humor,
and craftsmanship, but above all a poetic passion for his
country" ( West 23). Aloes was a man who as a popular
satirist defied his times. "While our greatest comic
writer, Mark Swain, was capable of withering satire, he was
never loved for it in his own times, nor in ours for that
matter. Much of Swain's most devastating satire was either
suppressed by him or ignored by his readers. It is as a
humorist that he is best remembered. Similarly great
satirists like HL. Mencken's satire were deemed to erudite
by society. Lewis on the other hand gave Americans vinegar
and made them like it" (Love 14). The greatness of Lewis's
feat is admired by many as a breakthrough in American
literature, as well as something of an enigma. " Lewis is a
paradox. He gets away with telling America their faults
even though Americans are self conscious of all criticism.
Everything is right because we did it. Lewis tears of the
hoods of our Ku-Klux-Klan to show the cruel faces beneath
the masks. Yet he is able to flourish" (Lovett 32). Lewis
holds his audiences by the importance of his message rather
than humor. Lewis in fact writes his satire out of his
disappointment in his beloved country. He is writing in
denunciation of ugliness, in simple black and white (West
A direct result of Lewis' disappointment with his country
was his inability to commit himself or his characters to
the new America. Lewis was influenced by the nineteenth
century's progressive heritage of E. Bellamy in Looking
Backwards. "Lewis and his characters project the hope that
America could subsume the city and machine civilization
into the traditional democratic framework, without
sacrificing pastoral values" (Love 10-11).
Sinclair Lewis was a man on a mission. Previous to Babbitt
he had written satires on everything from the organization
of God, or the Church, to the medical field. By 1921,
however, Lewis was sensitive of criticism that he was
repeating himself, so he launched himself on a brand new
endeavor (Light 77). Lewis delved into himself to create a
masterpiece for the ages.
Lewis's nature was to write satire on American values, and
the accepted ideas of his era. Although there may be some
overlap to contemporary times, Lewis lived and was writing
about the sensational decade of the twenties. The
generation in which Lewis was writing, however, was not
his. Lewis was somehow able to achieve fame in a generation
which wanted to ignore him, as well as his contemporaries.
This era, of drastic change, favored younger writers like
Hemmingway, Fitzgerald and Don Passos (Love 9). Lewis
survival, forgetting his success, is an enigma in itself.
Lewis was adamant that his novel be a microcosm of
American middle class life. He therefore did extensive
research for Babbitt. "From his notes he was able to put
into the book a mass of accurate detail about clothes,
houses, furnishings, cars, clubs, real estate enterprises,
and conventions. Therefore we have great confidence in
Babbitt typicality in respect to things and opinions: his
toothpaste and bath towels, his gray suit, and his
spectacles, the contents ofd his pockets, his booster club
button; and his indecisive and inconclusive discussion with
his wife Myra about the choice of suits, his concerns for
his stomach, the opinions he gleans from his newspaper's
editorials, his scorn for socialist agitators, and his
faith in the strength of the towers of Zenith - all of
these observations we are delighted to recognize as true"
(Light 80). Through this extensive research Lewis found a
shallow materialistic world in a state of hysteria, which
feared the reds, and a workers revolution, as if it was the
plague (Love 7).
The fact that Babbitt begins in 1920 is of extreme
significance. 1920 is a satiric prelude to a decade of
dizzying and mindless economic expansion and obsession.
"Babbitt is the epic of our boom years and it remains today
as the major documentation in literature of American
business culture" (Schorer 327).
When Lewis delved into the society, of the 'boom' years,
he uncovered terrible intolerance of anyone who looked,
acted, or thought differently. The infamous case of the
Italians, Sacco and Vanzetti is a perfect example of this
sheer intolerance. "They were killed for having unpopular
opinions. It was a systematic exploitation of alien blood,
their imperfect knowledge of English, their unpopular
social views, and their opposition to the war, is what led
to their murders" (Love 4). Furthermore the now infamous Ku
- Klux - Klan was started at this time with their goal
being "native, white, Protestant, supremacy" (Love 5).
Along with the intolerance, of the twenties, Lewis also
found a great deal of hypocrisy. Nothing embodies this
better than peoples attitudes towards prohibition.
Prohibition represented a hypocrisy and subterfuge which
manifested the decade (Love 6). Babbitt himself applauds
the amendment, but then goes out drinking as if he is above
it. Lewis also felt that people were very hypocritical in
their political ideas, and he illustrated this
characteristics within Babbitt. Babbitt speaks of the
United States' neutrality with contradictions only a man
with many sets of engraved ideas could utter when he says
"We got no business interfering with the Irish, or any
other foreign government; still it's beyond me why we don't
just step in there [Russia] and kick those Bolshevik cusses
out" (Light 80). It is clear that the many contradictions
which represented the twenties clearly annoyed the more
The Twenties also represented the beginning of a more open
society, like the one we have today. Through the invention
of the radio "people could now hear everything that was
going on", all over the world (Love 5). By the time
Theodore Dreiser finished his work, An American Tragedy,
sex was an open and respectable subject. The way was being
paved to sexual honesty (Love 7). Along these same lines
the twenties represented the gradual ascension of women's
hemlines. Women could now vote, and there were many new
jobs opening up for women (Love 6). The old restraints of
the earlier decades were coming off. You could no longer
"keep 'em down on the farm", so people like George F.
Babbitt moved to the big cities (Love 41-2). Furthermore
people were no longer as committed to the church. Rather
the church was just used for social purposes, it had become
known as the institution of God " (Love 7). Babbitt, who
was Mr. 1920 used the church only as a vehicle to meet
powerful people, thus personifying societies actions.
Even in light of all the changes "middle class America
still, as Babbitt was to show, was hostage to a series of
clannish beliefs powerful enough to determine their
pleasures as well as their responsibilities" (Love 41).
Lewis was appearing on the scene right when the emperors
new clothes where finally disappearing (Love 42). Society
was rapidly changing right before Lewis's horrified eyes.
Lewis was a man who cared deeply for the world. He was
disappointed, however, as to the turn the world was taking.
He therefore created Babbitt, which became a paradigm for
many generations to come. What however did Lewis want to
do, in making Babbitt, and what did he want to accomplish?
Sinclair Lewis wanted to "debamboozle American society", he
wanted to the portray the confusion in which Americans ran
their lives (Lovett 34). Lewis desired to accurately
portray American middle class life. He coveted delving into
the newly found 'culture' of business. However "Lewis did
not merely want to show the typical tycoon, synonymous with
corruption. The tycoon was fiction. The powerful
manufacturer, the vast speculator, the fabulous financier,
the monarch of enormous enterprises, was just a myth. Lewis
wanted to show the world of the little businessman, and
more particularly the middleman. The middleman who
abolishes his own humanity, in the culture of business"
(Schorer 330-1). Lewis was looking for an objective
representation of contemporary social humanity, rather than
the anti - novels of today where only the book, itself, is
real. (Love 27).
Lewis related in a letter to a friend that " he wanted to
make Babbitt big in his realness, in his relation to all of
us, not in the least exceptional, yet dramatic, passionate
struggling" (Light 75). Babbitt was supposed to represent a
mold, or a type of mechanical American citizen. Lewis's
inclination was to bring a revelation to the American
people. Lewis wished to show that "conformity is the great
price that our predominantly commercial culture exacts of
American life" (Schorer 330). Lewis related in a 1920
letter to Professor Carl van Doren " I want it to be the
story of an average business man, a tired business man, not
in a gopher prairie but in a city of three or four hundred
thousand people (equally Minneapolis or Seattle or
Rochester or Atlanta) with its enormous industrial power,
its little theater, and lively country club and its
overwhelming menacing heresy hunt, its narrowed eyed (and
damned capable) crushing of anything threatening its
commercial oligarchy. I hope to keep it as far as may be
from all propaganda; I hope to make that man live - that
man we have heard in the Pullman smoker, ponderously
lecturing oil stock, the beauty of Lake Louise, the
impertinence of George the porter, and the excellence of
his 1918 Buick which is so much better a model than the
1919" (Love 17). Having once seen this man Lewis wanted to
develop him, so that he would not seem just idiosyncratic
but, rather a conforming individual who retains some
capabilities of his own (Light 80).
After pointing out the complete conformity the T.B.M.
(tired business man) exhibits, Lewis wished to show its
damaging consequences. " Lewis has discovered that a
Babbitt can suffer the tensions of conformity, though
conformity was not supposed to bring tension. Discontent
with the work routine, Babbitt would like for once the
flair of romantic love, the satisfaction of having left a
mark on the city, and a let up on his constant warring with
competitors. So tired is Babbitt, that deciding what suit
to wear is an exhausting problem with many subtleties"
All American's feel that they are chasing the, somewhat
elusive, American dream. Lewis wanted to exploit the fine
line between the American dream and reality (Love 43). That
the streets are paved with gold is not the question. The
dispute is over the definition of gold. Babbitt thinks that
he has achieved the American dream, this is why he is so
bewildered at his discontentment with his life. Babbitt
feels that he's "done everything he ought to do", as he
bemoans to his friend "I supported my family, and got a
good house and a six cylinder car, and built up a nice
little business, and I haven't any vices specially except
smoking...I belong to the church, and play enough golf to
keep in trim, and I only associate with good decent
fellows. And yet even so I don't know if I am entirely
satisfied. Babbitt has lived according to his dreams
inspiration, but they are dreams which leave the dreamer
restless and betrayed" (Light 81).
Babbitt represents America's disclosure to the world that
the US is "crass, materialistic, complacent and
chauvinistic". Lewis banked on the fact that furtively,
society could not tolerate what it had made itself (Schorer
331). Lewis wanted to tell America the truth. He had the
guts to tell America "to which stupid, and finally
devastating, social damnation, we were drifting to"
(Schorer 334). This type of satire about middle class
subjects, for middle class readers never took off in
America (Love 39). Lewis made it happen, why? Lewis wanted
to use the subliminal to its full extent. Lewis knew that
by creating a humorous, realistic character, like Babbitt,
people would subconsciously identify themselves with
Babbitt. As a result people would hopefully change so as to
avoid Babbitt's frustrating fate. This was Lewis's goal.
The type of satire which Lewis wanted to utilize was
"satire which operates in the considerable and lamentable
gulf between how things are and how they should be. What
drove Lewis's pen was the galling realization of how human
subjects had fallen away from their rightful
responsibilities and potentialities" (Love 43). Lewis
possessed a discriminating moral sense, or a perception of
a momentous ideal. To middle class America this satire was
essential. Lewis felt it crucial that their beliefs no
longer be funneled to them by the demands of society (Love
41). Lewis's exploited this idea to the fullest in Babbitt.
"Lewis's tendency to move quickly from one topic to
another, covering the entire range of middle class business
life in America, from its ugliest aspect - its racial,
ethnic, and religious bigotry, and its cutthroat commercial
practices - to its essentially harmless, merely silly
pursuits of diversion and pleasure. The effect is to
suggest a world not so much of business as of busyness - a
crowded scene in frantic motion, yet without any real
movement toward any specific and worthwhile goals" (Love
Lewis wanted to capture the hypocrisy of society. In
"Huckleberry Finn", Twain wanted to show Miss Watson's
hypocrisy in owning a slave and at the same time being a
Christian. Lewis tried to point out similar hypocrisies,
where society is to blame for the inconsistencies. Take for
example Babbitt's friend Chum Frink. "He enjoys liquor then
cheers prohibition" (42). Lewis wanted to use satire by
self exposure. This is accomplished "when characters, like
Frink, give their ignorance away" for all to see (Light
78). Lewis was trying to capture the sad realities of life.
Lewis wanted to trap his immolation into painting his own
portrait of reality; "and when the last garment, which
covers his nakedness is stripped off, the flashlight
explodes and the camera has caught the victim in every
feature of his mean, and vacuous reality" (Love 15).
Lewis wanted Babbitt to come alive. He wanted to portray
the world of the little businessman, who conforms to
society in every which way. Main Street was Lewis's first
attempt at accomplishing this, but by writing Babbitt he
declared himself a failure. "In Main Street heat and
exhilaration were foreign to the hour, Babbitt, however,
has that something real, which makes it a work of art; and
it is signed in every line with the unique personality",
and more importantly the desires, "of the writer" (West
23). Lewis wanted Babbitt to come alive, and to face life
the way the conformists of society beseeched him to. Lewis
wanted Babbitt to be the typical guy next door.
Babbitt has become "the epic of our boom years, and it
remains today as the major documentation, in literature, of
American business culture" (Schorer 327). It seems as if
Lewis succeeded in his goal, he had made the world aware of
its monumental problems. Lewis was the first American
writer to receive the Nobel prize in literature (1930),
which he received for his efforts in Babbitt (Love 16).
Upton Sinclair, a major figure in literature, crowned
Babbitt as " the best novel of all time" (Love 16).
"Babbitt became part of our lives which before we had not
recognized" (Love 18). Along with Babbitt's pomp and pep he
was also, very humanly, pathetic. How could it have
possibly failed? Commercially it did not. Babbitt became
the greatest international success in publishing history
(Schorer 331). It seems as if Lewis got exactly what he
wanted. His book was widely read and people accepted its
trenchant remarks as truths. Lewis had in fact, hoping to
overcome the limitations of caricature, consciously made
Babbitt seem real, " yet before the novel was finished,
Lewis had to concede something to its inevitable tone, and
was looking towards his next book where he would try again"
(Light 77). Why was this the case? Hadn't Lewis succeeded?
The answer is the basis for the book itself. Lewis's love
for the world was so great that there was always something
he could ask society to work on, so therefore his work was
never complete. He died, tragically, without ever realizing
that in a perfect world there is no place for people.
Ralph Waldo Emerson in "Self Reliance" had some of the
same ideas as Sinclair Lewis. To Emerson the objection to
conforming is that "it loses your time and blurs the
impression of your character. If you maintain a dead
church, contribute to a dead bible society, vote with a
great party either for the government or against it, spread
your table like base housekeepers - under all these screens
I have difficulty to detect the precise man [that] you are"
(Emerson 411). This was Lewis's Babbitt, as if Lewis wrote
it himself. Lewis was against all that was standardized, he
felt that it abolished humanity. The little white house
with a blue door, and a walk in closet was Lewis's nemesis.
"He was the first to show us into what social damnation we
were drifting. The question is - have we landed?!?"
Emerson, Ralph Waldo. "Self Reliance. " The American
Tradition In Literature - Sixth Edition. ED. George
Perkins, Sculley Bradley, Richmond Croom Beatty, E. Hudson
Long. New York: Random House, 1985. 410.
Lewis, Sinclair. Babbitt. New York: Harcourt, Brace &
World, INC., 1922
Light, Martin. The Quixotic Vision of Sinclair Lewis. West
Lafayette Indiana: Purdue University Press, 1975, 73 - 83.
Love, Glen A. Babbitt An American Life; Twaynes Masterwork
Studies. New York: Twayne Publishers, 1993.
Lovett, Robert Moss. "An Interpreter of American Life."
Sinclair Lewis. Ed. Mark Schorer. Englewood Cliffs, NJ:
Prentice-Hall, INC., 1962. 32-35.
Mencken, H.L. "Portrait of an American Citizen." Sinclair
Lewis. Ed. Mark Schorer. Englewood Cliffs, NJ:
Prentice-Hall, INC., 1962. 20-22.
Schorer, Mark. "Afterword" Babbitt. New York: Harcourt
Brace Jovanavich, INC., 1992. 327-334.
Websters Universal Unabridged Dictionary. New York: Barnes
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