Babbitt Essay Research Paper BabbittIf one were — страница 5

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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 mature Lewis. 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 prarie 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