Babbitt Essay Research Paper BabbittIf one were — страница 7

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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?!?” (Schorer 334). 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., 1922Light, 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 & Noble Books,1992. 106. West, Rebecca. “Babbitt.” Sinclair Lewis. Ed. Mark Schorer. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, INC., 1962. 23-26.