Study Guide

Babbitt What's Up With the Ending?

By Harry Sinclair Lewis

What's Up With the Ending?

"But I do get a sneaking pleasure out of the fact that you knew what you wanted to do and did it. Well, those folks in there will try to bully you, and tame you down. Tell 'em to go to the devil! I'll back you. Take your factory job, if you want to. Don't be scared of the family. No, nor all of Zenith. Nor of yourself, the way I've been. Go ahead, old man! The world is yours!"

Arms about each other's shoulders, the Babbitt men marched into the living-room and faced the swooping family.
(32.6.24)

At the end of Babbitt, George Babbitt knows that he has caved into social pressures by returning to his life as a "normal" conservative businessman. But he has hope in the thought that his son, Ted, will grow up to be his own man with his own opinions. D'awwww. Father/son bonding.

And with that, the two of them walk into the living room to defend Ted's decision to marry his high school sweetheart, Eunice Littlefield. Even though Babbitt has ultimately given in to social pressure, his period of rebellion has brought him much closer to his son, whom he respects for being a strong, independent individual. He has always dreamed of Ted becoming a lawyer, but he's willing to respect any decision Ted makes.

Shucks. At the end of an aggressively snarky and bleaktastic look at the American dream and the traditional white-picket-fence American family unit, we get a bit of something that's actually uplifting. Who'd have thunk it?

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