I’ve begun a new book. It’s called “Babbitt”, written by Sinclair Lewis in 1922. Takes place in 1920, in a fictitious town in Indiana called, Zenith. The main character, Babbitt, a realtor, lives in a new dutch colonial, in a prim and proper neighborhood, with his unhappy wife and strange egotistical children. 1920 seems so long ago, but in reality it is only 3 years before my mom was born, so at least it brings the story into my realm of being.
The story line is familiar. Change the props, and it could be told in the 1950’s or ’60’s. It kills me when in the story, the son of Babbitt insists he must have the car for the evening. This is a young man who, as father reminds him, can’t even pass his Latin exam, but wants everything dished out on a silver platter. Who would expect such a request in the 1920’s?
“Babbitt” is a novel about the American Dream, and how one man believes primarily in himself, to the exclusion of others. A quintessential narcissist, he is in charge of making the American Dream come true in his own image and likeness, and based on how it serves him and his happiness, best. He knows not that every one has dreams, of their own, and in fact he doesn’t care that all people have dreams. He knows nothing about culture, but is concerned only with that which lines his own pockets with gold.