Marriage in Babbit by Sinclair Lewis

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Marriage in Babbit by Sinclair Lewis In the novel Babbitt, Sinclair Lewis touches upon various issues that characterize American society. Marriage was one of these various issues that Lewis focused on. In the story, George Babbitt was married and his best friend, Paul Riesling, was married. They both seemed uneasy about their marriages and were not pleased with their situations. George always seemed to care less for Myra, "she was as sexless as an anemic nun... no one, save [except] Tinka, was all interested in her or entirely aware that she was alive" (Lewis 7). Paul also truly disliked his wife Zilla, "why I want to kill her", " (i)f I only could [divorce her]! If she'd just give me the chance!" (Lewis 58-59). This lack of feeling for their wives is what Lewis focused on in the rest of the story. Lewis brings about conflict between these two characters and their wives. He brings about the idea of infidelity between the two married couples. The dissatisfaction for their wives leads George and Paul to lust for other women. Lewis is making the point that when men are dissatisfied with their women, they go and try to find others to satisfy their "hunger". George dreamt of a fairy girl that he could run off with and escape from his friends and most of all, his wife (Lewis 2-3). Babbitt also had two affairs on which Lewis indirectly, with class points out. Babbitt and his buddies in Maine, picked up a prostitute in which some devious behavior took place. This behavior "was never known to his family, nor to anyone in Zenith... (i)t was not officially recognized even by himself". His chief affair was with a widow, Tanis Judique. He had even spent the night with her, but he later dumped her to be free. Paul on the other hand only had one affair. He had an affair with a lady named May Arnold that he had been writing, who lived in Chicago. This affair with May was Paul's infidelity to his nagging wife Zilla. By describing these instances of men cheating, Lewis revealed to his readers what was not commonly portrayed about American culture.

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