Sinclair Lewis’s Babbitt

This paper discusses in detail Sinclair Lewis’s `Babbitt`, a story of desire, disappointment, and denial.

This paper examines Sinclair Lewis’s novel, Babbitt, which, through the life of George Babbitt, provides a vision of American life during the 1920s. The author contends that the cause for Babbitt’s depression is not his disappointment with the aims and morals of 1920’s society, but with his suppression of the homosexual attraction he feels for Paul Reisling. This paper, through a series of explications, studies the relationship between George Babbitt and Paul Reisling, such as the camping trip and, in Chicago, when Babbitt sees Paul making love to a woman.
In Zenith, it is imperative for a man to be seen as a Man, and a woman to be seen as a Woman. There is no room for ambiguity. Babbitt spends his time making sure that he measures up. His main arena for manliness is the office. He describes a business deal between himself, Conrad Lyte and Archibald Purdy (45). At the conclusion of the deal, one where both Babbitt and Lyte profit, George admits it was necessary to bully Lyte into buying. Purdy signs the agreement after Babbitt warns of possible ruination due to outside competition, a warning Purdy construes as threatening Having closed the deal, Babbitt sits back and ponders his manly battle but quickly becomes depressed. He cheers himself by thinking about the impending camping trip with his friend, Paul Riesling.