Study Guide

Babbitt Chapter 22

By Harry Sinclair Lewis

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Chapter 22

(Sections I through III)

  • Babbitt drives to the city prison to see Paul. When he arrives, though, he finds that Paul isn't willing to see him. Not to be defeated, Babbitt drives down to city hall and gets the mayor's permission to go see Paul whether Paul wants him to or not.
  • When he sees Paul, he asks Paul what happened. As you might imagine, Paul says that Zilla just nagged him one too many times. Paul cries, though, when he thinks of some of the good times he used to have with Zilla back in the early days of their marriage.
  • Eventually, Paul collapses into a sobbing mess and his lawyer shows up. Babbitt wants to know what he can do to help, but the lawyer informs him that there's nothing for the moment that he can do.
  • The next time he contacts Paul's lawyer, though, he offers to lie on the witness stand and to say that he was there when Paul's gun went off and that it was all an accident.
  • After all the drama, Paul's trial lasts less than fifteen minutes. Paul is found temporarily insane and sentenced to three years in the State Penitentiary and it turns out that Zilla will survive being shot.
  • After Paul's sentencing, Babbitt realizes that for him, a world without Paul Riesling might be meaningless.

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