Babbitt. He is a middle-aged man in the 1920’s who has a good family and a successful career. Lewis Sinclair shows Babbitt in the historical context of the 1920’s where the middle class is engrossed in materialism, social…
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His conformity to the society makes him act in ways that are not ideal for an individual. If he existed in the 21st century, he would probably be accommodative to the society’s liberal view. Babbitt realizes the hypocrisy and dissatisfaction of his life when it is too late to rebel from it. The story captures the 1920 ban on alcohol by the American government (ONeal 91). However, Babbitt and many other middle-class and wealthy people continued to consume illegal alcohol. American society’s hypocrisy at the time is partly revealed through the consumption of alcohol by Babbitt and his friends. For example, one of the reasons the prohibition was put in place was because it was morally wrong for Americans to drink and merry while its young men went to war (ONeal 91). From Babbitt, it seems that most Americans in the middle and upper class were too self-indulged to remember the soldiers at war. Additionally, the prohibition was repealed because people were willing to drink alcohol provided they did not speak (ONeal 92). Babbitt is an example of people that publically rebuked taking alcohol but secretly and constantly took alcohol. He even practiced it publicly at the time when he rebelled.
When Verona Babbitt expressed interest in working for charity, her father quickly dismissed her and the idea of charity as a whole (Lewis 24). According to Babbitt, charity was almost an equivalent of socialism. He said that encouraging charity enfeebled a working man’s willpower to fend for and feed his children. Additionally, he claimed that it gave children of the lower class notions above their status. Babbitt represents the selfish and self-indulged nature of the middle-class society at the time. The 1920’s were spent crashing labor unions and reducing wages (ONeal 71). In fact, Babbitt is one of the people in the 1920’s that opposed labor Unions. As a business owner, he believed that while radical unions destroyed property and good labor unions were useful in
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