Study Guide

Babbitt Chapter 27

By Harry Sinclair Lewis

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Chapter 27

(Sections I through V)

  • Just when everything seems to be going well for the city of Zenith, there's a general workers' strike. This divides the city into two camps: the pro-workers camp and the pro-business camp. When the striking workers start attacking some of the replacement workers, the government calls in the National Guard to get things under control.
  • While everyone in the Zenith Athletic Club is criticizing the workers, though, Babbitt becomes the lone voice that sticks up for them. Of course, his friends tend to think he's joking, since he's spent most of his life supporting pro-business agendas all over the city.
  • At church, even the Reverend Drew starts giving sermons about how God is opposed to the striking workers. Babbitt is so bold as to call the speech garbage, even though his business buddy Chum Frink can hear him.
  • After watching a march by the strikers, Babbitt goes back to the Athletic Club one afternoon and again defends the strikers in front of everybody. People want to know what's wrong with him. Babbitt, though, says that he's just trying to look at things moderately, instead of calling for workers' blood every time they stand up for themselves.
  • As he leaves the club, Babbitt can hear Chum Frink whisper to Vergil Gunch about how he doesn't know what has gotten into Babbitt.
  • When he gets home, he tries to talk to his wife about workers' rights. But Myra insists that he has always said that strikers ought to be thrown in jail. On top of that, she's not willing to follow him in his newfound liberalism. This, of course, just leaves Babbitt feeling like no one understands him.
  • As he rambles on, his wife warns him against saying stuff like this in public, or else people are going to think he's a socialist.
  • Babbitt goes to sleep feeling very unsure of himself and what he believes.

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