Sinclair Lewis wrote a series of satires that exposed the hypocrisy of early 20th century America. “Babbitt” is a snapshot of the life of George F. Babbitt, a somewhat prosperous middle class businessman who lives in Zenith, Ohio. Zenith has a population of 300,000+, and has an active business community. This community has its own rituals and ironclad rules. These rules consist of being one of the gang, being a member of all the right clubs and organizations, and never deviating from the ideals of business and money. These rules cause enormous difficulties for Babbitt when he goes through a midlife crisis at the end of the book and begins spouting liberal ideas and associating with the “wrong” crowd. It’s hilarious to see the similarities between the two events, and it brings home how class is strictly enforced in Zenith, and by extension, America. Babbitt is a person that readers may find themselves both hating and liking, often within the space of one page. He’s ignorant, in that he is a major conformist who often repeats slogans and phrases merely because others in his circle say the same things. He’s a name-dropper who refers to people he doesn’t even know as though they were his best friends. He’s also high volume. Babbitt is one of those people we all know who is always boisterous and noisy so they can hide their own insecurities or ignorance. Just when you think you can’t stand Babbitt for another second, Lewis tosses in a situation that makes you feel for the man. Babbitt is the boss at a real estate company, and he worries about his employees liking him. When a confrontation arises with one of his salesmen, Babbitt frets and doesn’t want to fire the guy, although the rules of business eventually force him to do exactly that. He wants all of his employees to like him. He also feels bad about cheating on his wife while she is away and worries about what his children will think of him when he comes in drunk after a night of carousing. Ultimately, although Babbitt can be a major heel, the reader is almost forced to sympathize with him. This is true especially at the end of the book, when Babbitt renounces his liberal ways and rejoins his old colleagues. His return to the pack is not quite complete, however. Babbitt is changed by his transgression, and has learned a few lessons that he imparts to his son on the last page of the book, thus ending the tale on an upbeat note. This book is both funny and sad, but well worth reading. Sinclair Lewis eventually won Pulitzer and Nobel prizes for his literary endeavors. It’s not hard to see why.