Analysis Pages

Plot in Babbitt

Plot Examples in Babbitt:

Chapter XXXI

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"he was alarmed and astonished that he could have flared out at his wife, and thought fondly how much more lasting she was than the flighty Bunch...."   (Chapter XXXI)

Here is the first suggestion that Babbitt might return to his wife and old ways due to his dissatisfaction with the Bunch and Tanis. One of the benefits of social conformity is stability, and the instability of the Bunch is beginning to grate on Babbitt.

"Then he heard that Miss McGoun had, a week after leaving him, gone over to his dangerous competitors, Sanders, Torrey and Wing...."   (Chapter XXXII)

This is not the first tangible instance of Babbitt’s supposedly loyal colleagues deserting him, but it appears to sting him more than others, perhaps because she lied about her reason for exiting his company. His discovery of her deception kickstarts Babbitt’s paranoia and is one factor that propels him toward rejoining polite society.

"He'd have no more wild evenings, he realized. He admitted that he would regret them. A little grimly he perceived that this had been his last despairing fling before the paralyzed contentment of middle-age...."   (Chapter XXXIII)

Although Babbitt’s marriage appears to be mending, it is a bittersweet moment. Here Babbitt comes to the conclusion that he must leave behind his individualistic pursuits because his family depends on him and his social respectability—and that he regrets even trying out a more nonconforming lifestyle. Notice the word choice surrounding Babbitt’s realization: “grimly” and “despairing” suggest that he is resigned to his fate rather than wholly accepting.

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