Babbitt Essay Research Paper BabbittIf one were — страница 6

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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” (Light 81). 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 44). Lewis wanted to capture the hypocrisy of society. In Huckelberry Finn Twain wanted to show Miss Watson 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