Study Guide

Babbitt Society and Class

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Society and Class

Of all the themes we explore in Babbitt, Society and Class might be the most central to this book's plot. George Babbitt, plain and simple, wants to feel like a high society big shot. There is hardly anything in life that gives him more pleasure than climbing the social ladder and making friends with Zenith's richest and most powerful citizens.

Things hit a little snag, though, when Babbitt questions what the point of all his social climbing actually is. Without a clear goal to guide his actions, the dude starts to wonder if there's any point to life at all.

Questions About Society and Class

  1. Do you think it is fair to say that George Babbitt is a "success"? Why or why not?
  2. By the end of this book, do you think Babbitt is more interested in improving the world around him or making himself as comfortable as possible within it? Use evidence from the text to support your answer.
  3. What is it that sets off George Babbitt's climb in Zenith's social circles? Does the climb make him feel fulfilled, empty, or both?
  4. Do you find Sinclair Lewis' critique of American middle-class life effective? Do you feel more critical about the divide between upper and lower classes since reading this book? Why or why not?

Chew on This

In Babbitt, we find that social classes are always going to be in conflict with one another and that people in the upper classes will always feel insecure about their privilege.

In Babbitt, Sinclair Lewis shows us that there is no amount of social success that will ever make Babbitt happy, but human desire is insatiable.

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