Study Guide

Babbitt Family

By Harry Sinclair Lewis

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Okay, so Babbitt isn't the best family man… but he's a family man nonetheless. Sinclair Lewis takes every opportunity he can to reveal Babbitt's character to us through his relationship with his fam.

This dude doesn't seem all that close to his family at the start of Babbitt . In fact, he tends to think his kids are a real pain and that his wife is an ugly nag. Instead of showing us the faults of these people, though, Babbitt just ends up showing us his own emptiness. His connections to the world around him are mostly superficial, and it's his family life that makes this superficiality most obvious.

Questions About Family

  1. What are some of the first things that the narrator says about Babbitt's relationship with his family? How do these comments set up your opinion of Babbitt's family for the rest of the book?
  2. Which members of his family does Babbitt grow closer to as the book unfolds? Why?
  3. What family crisis inspires Babbitt to give up his rebellious ways and become a model citizen again? Is it a good change?
  4. What is Paul Riesling's family life like compared to Babbitt's? How does Paul's family life affect Babbitt's outlook on his own life?

Chew on This

In Babbitt, Sinclair Lewis argues that having a wife and children is a bad thing because it is harder to rebel against society when you have a family to take care of.

In Babbitt, George Babbitt's disconnection from his family shows just how emotionally disconnected modern men are from what matters most in life.

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