American Literature's Influence On Sinclair Lewis 'Babbitt'

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The Influence of American Literature (rough draft) The Roaring Twenties is the most known era in history. This era impacted and influenced many lives. It was during this decade in which many people moved to cities to live the great life of The Roaring Twenties. It was the decade of prosperity and influence in America. The Roaring Twenties greatly impacted Sinclair Lewis’s writing of the Babbitt in several ways. The Roaring Twenties were the result of the expansion of mass production and economic prosperity. The roaring twenties started in 1920 and ended in 1929 as the result of the stock market crash that lunched them into a period of economic disaster. According to Williams Kelly, the Roaring…show more content…
He was mainly alone for most off his life. This loneliness caused him to become an ardent reader, and tried his hand at creative writing. Throughout his life, Lewis had written many novels. During the era of the roaring Twenties, Lewis wrote one of his most famous novel, Babbitt. Babbitt was very successful for its e According to Anna Katona, Lewis “selected the most important issues of American life.” Lewis wanted to capture the changing face of American society and business in Babbitt. Peter Swirski described Lewis’ novel, Babbitt, as “A sociological critique of middle-class America as Lewis saw it: hypocritical, intolerant, conformist, and barren.” He used the Roaring Twenties as an advantage to take the reader through the most important aspects of middle-class life: politics, leisure, clubs, class, labor, and family. Lewis exposed the United States by being dominated by business and small-minded mentality (Katona). By using the Roaring Twenties to his advantage, he opens the reader’s minds to the real problems behind that era as he saw it. Katona stated, “Lewis’s wealthy Americans of the 1920’s are in desperate need of civilization they can call their own. This transitory stage of the American experience was the theme of Lewis’s writing.” Lewis wrote about the con of conformity and the idea that everyone had the same dreams and intentions during The Roaring…show more content…
Babbitt is a satirical novel about a real estate broker who knows his business. He takes advantage of his business and his social status for power and wealth. He thinks that his life is boring and dull. He has a best friend, Paul, who is unhappy with his life as well. Babbitt suggest a vacation for him and Paul to get away from their wives. On vacation, Babbitt feels that his life in Zenith is not all that it should be. He promises himself a new outlook on life with a simpler, less frantic way of living. Later on, he finds that Paul killed his wife and was sentence to jail. He never felt so lost and alone and so he decides to pull away from the world and the conformity. He finds the respect from his children but not from his friend. His friends shun him because he agreed with different views. He realizes that he is miserable and ends up falling back into the ideas of society. According to Swirski, “Babbitt symbolizes freckles conformism in a country on notions of rugged individualisms” (Swirski). Lewis wanted Babbitt to be portrayed as a person who was judged by his individual worth by society and himself just like society did during the Era of the Roaring twenties. He made Babbitt return to his old, boring life because he was alone and miserable without his friends and wife. By going back to his friends, Lewis shows the idea of conformity by shunning Babbitt out by his peers and society for his
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