The novel begins in the 1920’s, a decade that had started in economic boom and avid consumerism, only to end crash and depression. This was a parallel used by Lewis to illustrate the theme of the story. He was trying to show that materialism and shadow attitudes of the middle class of America during this time period. Lewis bluntly criticizes his own characters to get his point across. Here he writes ,”He hadn’t any satisfaction in the new water cooler! And it was the very best of water coolers, up to date, scientific and right thinking. It had cost a great deal of money (in itself a virtue)” (Lewis pg. 31). This quote reflects Babbitt’s excitement about material items and how those items mirror his position in society. Babbitt’s morals and values were full of holes, which is what Lewis wanted to point out. He has chosen to satirize Babbitt as living in a fairy-tale world, oblivious to what was really going on around him.
Irony is very strong and evident throughout the story. Since Babbitt is the ultimate conformist, he must uphold on his own beliefs and values even though they are shallow and transparent. He spends his life trying to relate to the “s...
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...ect of Babbitt made the public realize what the American middle class was like in the 1920’s and how they eventually lost everything. I enjoyed reading the novel. Americans today in the 21st century should read Babbitt and learn from the mistakes Babbitt made. He chose to be unfaithful to his wife but he realized at the end that he didn't want to take part in that anymore, be "free" from it. Americans need to try and free themselves from the unfaithful vibes in which they listen to when they go out and “cheat”. "We" need to turn our society around into more moral people. This may be difficult to do, because of the history behind this practice and how far back it extends but there is always room and time for change. If Lewis "watched" Babbitt grow and change, we as Americans can grow and change too!
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