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MonkeyNotes-Babbitt by Sinclair Lewis
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Chapter 7

Babbitt and his wife read magazines before going to bed. Babbitt spouts some more platitudes about health and good living, then takes a bath and goes to bed. While he sleeps, the narrative blankets the city of Zenith, highlighting all the things that are going on in the night. A woman commits adultery, scientists are uncovering new revelations, a strike is organized, a veteran dies. Babbitt's father-in-law and some other influential businessmen plan their next financial coup, and decide to use Babbitt to earn their money. Everyone is busy doing something. Babbitt rolls over in his sleep and dreams of his fantasy girl again.


Notes

This chapter exposes the mechanical life of the inhabitants of a busy metropolis who go about doing their work, unmindful of the existence of their fellow men. In the modern world today, people busy with their own lives have hardly any time to think about their neighbors. Lewis convincingly reveals the self-centered existence of the citizens by giving apt examples. As the Babbitts go to sleep, others in Zenith are involved in their own activities. In the words of the narrator "At that moment in the city of Zenith, Horace Updike was making love to Lucile McKelvey in her mauve drawing-room on Royal Ridge,--- a cocaine-runner and prostitute were drinking cocktails in Hanley Hanson's saloon on Front Street, --- two men sat in a laboratory, --- there was a conference of four union officials as to whether the twelve thousand coal miners within a hundred miles of the city should strike, --- a G.V.R. veteran was dying." Life in this world continues, irrespective of the fate of its inhabitants. As others try to live their life in this very real world, Babbitt dreams about his fairy and his escape into her arms.

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