Study Guide

Babbitt What's Up With the Title?

By Harry Sinclair Lewis

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What's Up With the Title?

Sinclair Lewis decided to name his novel Babbitt because its main character, George F. Babbitt, is a symbol for a "type" of modern American whom Lewis wanted to satirize in this book. In fact, when this book first came out, people were constantly coming up to Lewis on the street and saying that Babbitt must have been written about a specific guy that they knew. Chances are that at some point in our lives, all of us have met a "Babbitt" or maybe even a few Babbitts.

This title actually became so familiar to Americans that the term "Babbitt" became a word in the dictionary, meaning "a person and especially a business or professional man who conforms unthinkingly to prevailing middle-class standards."

Now that's what you call a title with staying power.

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