Literary Precedents for Babbitt

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Clearly, Sinclair Lewis descends from a line of social critics such as Thomas Paine, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, and Mark Twain; but the contemporary he came closest to was H. L. Mencken who attacked American university professors and others with the same gusto as Lewis attacked the American middle class. Where they differed is in their belief systems. Mencken's primary attitude toward the United States and its people was negative. He believed that Americans were a people ruined by their heritage of bigotry and that democracy, rather than being a force for individual growth and achievement, actually operated to keep power in the hands of the powerful.

On the other hand, one part of Sinclair Lewis continued to believe in the American dream and in concepts of chivalry and romance, but he apparently lacked a philosophical framework to provide for him a reason to believe, and...

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This section contains 161 words
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Babbitt from Novels for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.