Study Guide

Babbitt Friendship

By Harry Sinclair Lewis

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Babbitt is proud to think of himself as a dude with lots of buddy-bud-buds. What he doesn't realize until later in Babbitt, though, is that these people will only be his friends as long as he holds the same opinions as them and goes about his life the way they do.

To be fair, his friendship with Paul Riesling goes deeper than this, but Paul is put out of commission when he goes to prison. With no one to talk to, Babbitt starts to question whether his life has any higher meaning. And without friends, it can be tough to find an answer.

Questions About Friendship

  1. Do you think Babbitt's friendship with Paul is a healthy one? Why or why not?
  2. Why do Babbitt's friends from the social clubs start to abandon him? Do they have good reasons?
  3. How does friendship help Babbitt get through his daily life? What is its main purpose for him?

Chew on This

In Babbitt, friendship is mostly just a tool that Babbitt uses to distract himself from thinking too deeply about his life.

In Babbitt, we learn that friendship is the only thing that can really keep people going in the cold, modern world.

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