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MonkeyNotes-Babbitt by Sinclair Lewis
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Myra Babbitt

Myra Babbitt is a simple housewife who tolerates her husband's mood swings and inconstancy. Most of the time she agrees with his views. When Babbitt reads a news item or talks on a subject, she echoes his sentiments. She values his opinions and often gives in to his wishes. She is proud of his achievements and accomplishments. She also encourages him in pursuing his goals. And when he is appreciated for his efforts, she feels delighted.

Myra is considerate and understanding. When Babbitt expresses the need to enjoy a holiday with Paul, she not only gives him permission to go to Maine but also persuades Zilla to allow Paul to accompany Babbitt. Later, when Babbitt unjustly blames her for driving him towards Tanis, she feels guilty and apologetic. Unlike Zilla, she tries to understand the problem of her husband and acts accordingly. Even when she suspects Babbitt of having an affair with another woman, she does not accuse him directly but hints about it. It is Babbitt who feels guilty about cheating her and confesses his affair.

Myra maintains her dignity even under trying circumstances. Her attitude towards her family and friends is respectful. She is neither possessive about Babbitt nor demands his attention. Whenever he gives her company, she is happy and makes the most of it. She is thankful for small mercies. She never stoops so low as to abuse Babbitt or nag him. However, when she feels Babbitt has hurt Zilla, she tells him about it.

Myra is described as not particularly attractive, and Babbitt seems bored with her. In fact, he admits he is not in love with her. However, Myra is mostly responsible for Babbitt's return to his "senses". When she becomes ill, Babbitt realizes he may lose what little he has in his quest for something more. Babbitt realizes her worth before it is too late.


Paul Riesling

Paul Riesling is a man who is moody, pessimistic and ever complaining. He lacks positive thinking and ultimately fails to improve his situation. In so many ways, Paul's identity is linked to Babbitt's. The difference between the two men is that Paul fails to accept the confines of his life. His spirit dies and he is plunged into a deep depression. For a time, Babbitt follows Paul's path almost identically; at some point, however, Babbitt does what Paul cannot. He accepts his life.

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