Study Guide

Babbitt Chapter 9

By Harry Sinclair Lewis

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Chapter 9

(Sections I Through II)

  • Babbitt likes playing host to his friends. But with dinner finished, he feels like he ate too much food. To make things worse, he finds his guests getting more and more boring as the booze wears off.
  • To deal with his boredom, Babbitt decides to sit next to one of his friends' wives on the couch and to flirt with her.
  • To pass the time, the group gets together to have a mock séance, in which they pretend to talk to the ghost of the famous Italian poet, Dante Alighieri.
  • The party eventually wraps up, and once everyone is gone, Mrs. Babbitt tells her husband that she thinks it went pretty well.
  • While they're talking, Babbitt says he wants to go up to Maine on vacation by himself. He totally blows his cover about meeting someone in New York on business, and instead tells Myra that he'd just like to go up to Maine by himself. Of course, she suspects that there's something else going on, and she tries to guilt him into taking her.
  • He holds firm, though, and just says he wants to be alone for a while. She wants to know, though, if he even wants her around on his vacations. He tries to reassure her while at the same time protecting his right to go off alone.
  • Eventually, she gives in and tells him to have a good time. But now, Babbitt feels ashamed about his newfound freedom.

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