Study Guide

Babbitt Drugs and Alcohol

By Harry Sinclair Lewis

Drugs and Alcohol

For a book set during the Prohibition era in American history, you might not expect Babbitt to have so much boozing in it. But if anything, the criminalization of alcohol only seems to make people want the hard stuff more.

Not only that, but alcohol makes for a nice little sedative whenever people start thinking too much about the deeper meaning of life. This goes especially for George Babbitt, who will do anything he can to make his brain stop thinking so much about how empty his life is.

Questions About Drugs and Alcohol

  1. Do you believe that Babbitt is being immoral when he purchases illegal booze? Why or why not?
  2. Apart from alcohol, what other drugs are mentioned in this book? How do people tend to think of them compared to alcohol?
  3. Why do you think Babbitt starts drinking more after his best friend Paul Riesling goes to jail? Please use specific evidence from the text to support your answer.
  4. Who tells Babbitt that he needs to cut back on alcohol and what effect does the warning have on Babbitt? Use specific evidence from the text to support your answer.

Chew on This

In Babbitt, we learn that the main purpose of alcohol for many people is to keep the mind from thinking too much.

In Babbitt, Sinclair Lewis shows us that alcohol should have never been made illegal in America.

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