Study Guide

Babbitt Men and Masculinity

By Harry Sinclair Lewis

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Men and Masculinity

George F. Babbitt likes to think of himself as a manly man… and that's exactly why he's insecure about the dissatisfaction he feels toward his life. A real man, he thinks, would be perfectly happy with having a nice house and a lot of money.

But Babbitt tends to hang out with men who are so afraid of being seen as feminine that they spend most of their time constantly reassuring themselves of their masculinity. Without doubt, masculinity and self-worth often seem like the same thing for men in the world of Babbitt.

Questions About Men and Masculinity

  1. In your opinion, do men today still worry as much about being manly as they do in Babbitt, or is it more acceptable for a man to be seen as feminine? Why?
  2. What does the narrator mean when he says that Babbitt's love for his friend Paul transcends any love that he could ever have for a woman? Use specific evidence from the text to support your answer.
  3. Do you think that Babbitt is being silly when he worries about being a manly man, or is his concern genuine? Why?

Chew on This

In Babbitt, Sinclair Lewis shows us that the pressures of being "manly" are actually responsible for making a lot of men feel totally miserable.

In Babbitt, we find that George Babbitt and the men around him are always at their happiest when they feel "manly."

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