Literary Devices in Babbitt
Point of View: Babbitt employs a limited third-person narrator. The narration is an example of free indirect discourse, in which the narrative voice blends elements of both third-person and first-person perspectives. In Babbitt, the narrator is capable of slipping into George Babbitt’s consciousness, momentarily narrating his thoughts and feelings.
Satire: Whether or not Babbitt ought to be considered an outright satire, much of Sinclair Lewis’s writing in the novel is satirical. One of Lewis’s central purposes in Babbitt is to expose the foolishness and emptiness prevalent in middle-class Midwestern American life. The tone is wry, ironic, and often darkly humorous, holding the novel’s characters at a critical distance in order to reveal their many weaknesses and self-deceptions.
Literary Devices Examples in Babbitt:
"Myra Babbitt—Mrs. George F. Babbitt—was definitely mature...." See in text (Chapter I)
"He looked regretfully at the blanket—forever a suggestion to him of freedom and heroism. He had bought it for a camping trip which had never come off. It symbolized gorgeous loafing, gorgeous cursing, virile flannel shirts...." See in text (Chapter I)
"They were neither citadels nor churches, but frankly and beautifully office-buildings...." See in text (Chapter I)
"Zenith..." See in text (Chapter I)
"his motor car was poetry and tragedy, love and heroism...." See in text (Chapter III)
"the barrenness of Bellevue—blocks of wooden houses, garages, little shops, weedy lots...." See in text (Chapter XXVIII)
"With true masculine wiles he not only convinced himself that she had injured him but, by the loudness of his voice and the brutality of his attack, he convinced her also, and presently he had her apologizing for his having spent the evening with Tanis. He went up to bed well pleased, not only the master but the martyr of the household...." See in text (Chapter XXXII)
"all of them perceived that American Democracy did not imply any equality of wealth, but did demand a wholesome sameness of thought, dress, painting, morals, and vocabulary...." See in text (Chapter XXXIV)