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MonkeyNotes-Babbitt by Sinclair Lewis
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Chapter 32

Myra questions Babbitt when he returns home late from his break- up with Tanis. Frustrated, Babbitt hints he is having an affair and even blames Myra. In a scene eerily reminiscent of one with Paul and Zilla, Myra accepts the blame and apologizes, though it is clear the problem is Babbitt.

At the Booster's club, Babbitt voices his opinion against the guest speaker and startles his friends. Later, when Charlie McKelvey visits Babbitt's office and gives him an ultimatum to join the Good Citizen's League, Babbitt refuses the offer.

His friends begin to avoid him. His business suffers valuable customers like the Street Traction Company, when take their business elsewhere. His employees resign from their posts and take up jobs elsewhere. Babbitt is shocked by this complete and total sense of rejection. Confused, he tries to resume things with Tanis. She refuses. It seems his only support comes from Ted. The young man encourages his father's rebellion against traditional roles. Babbitt is concerned about his future.


Notes

This chapter has two pivotal scenes. First, Babbitt browbeats Myra into accepting blame for the troubles in his relationship. The previous scene seemed to suggest Babbitt was not going to follow Paul's ominous footsteps, but here his fate again seems in line with his friend. Second, Charles McKelvey comes to see Babbitt. Early in the story, this invitation would have delighted the status-seeking Babbitt. Now it only underscores how hard he is trying to rebel. Interestingly, only Ted seems to understand Babbitt's position--an important fact in light of the novel's close and the relationship of Ted to the conventional ideas of college and social status that have already been mentioned.

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