Study Guide

Babbitt Chapter 30

By Harry Sinclair Lewis

Chapter 30

(Section I through IV)

  • One summer ago, Myra Babbitt's letters had shown just how badly she wanted to come home and see Babbitt. This time, though, they don't even mention the thought of returning. And in truth, Babbitt doesn't really care if she comes home.
  • That said, Babbitt still tells himself that he needs to slow down. He even persuades himself that it'll be nice to see Myra when she comes home.
  • He goes and picks up her at the train station one day and tries to act happy and excited to have her home. She shyly gives him a present from her trip, and he's so ashamed at treating her badly that he grabs her and covers her with kisses.
  • For the next week, he's extremely attentive to Myra's every need, taking her to the theater and to dinner at the neighbors' house.
  • He stops coming home drunk and is happy about his apparent return to high morality. Little does he know, though, that all the while Myra has been having a little rebellion of her own.
  • One night while sitting by the fire, Myra asks him if he has made up a lists of all of his expenses while she was away. He doesn't want to do it, of course, and it's clear that she's suspicious of where he's been spending his money.
  • When they start to argue, Myra admits that she hates her boring life just as much as Babbitt does. She can't stand the routine of going to the grocery store and making meals for the family. This shocks Babbitt, but he shouldn't be all that surprised.
  • When Myra implies that Babbitt is going out and partying, he denies it. But when she adds that it wouldn't be appropriate at his age, he feels the need to defend himself by saying that there are plenty of women out there who think he's just as handsome as any young man.
  • It's at this moment that Myra seems to know that he's been hanging out with young women.
  • The basic outcome of the fight is that Babbitt promises to do more stuff that interests Myra, and the first thing she wants is to go check out a lecture by a New Age visionary. Babbitt does a huge face palm and sighs, but agrees anyway.
  • They go see the visionary, whose lecture lasts for over an hour. By the end, Babbitt has no clue what the woman is talking about. And here's the kicker, the woman tells the crowd that for a low, low price, they can all start their own journeys toward enlightenment.
  • Myra, though, tells Babbitt she loved the talk because it has gotten her out of her regular ways of thinking.
  • Babbitt says he'd rather have a drink and a dance if he wanted to get away from his usual thinking, and once again, Myra accuses him of partying it up while she was away. He tells her to stop accusing him with no proof, and they end up getting in a fight all over again.

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