Superiority Of Races In Sinclair Lewis' Babbitt

2362 words - 9 pages

Superiority of Races in Babbit

 
        Hatred, intolerance, prejudice, and narrow-mindedness are all terms that can be applied when describing someone who is a bigot.  By these terms George F. Babbitt, the protagonist in Sinclair Lewis' Babbitt, and many of his acquaintances are quite the bigots toward all those that appear different than he is especially immigrants and minorities in America.  The blame should not be placed squarely on these men's shoulders for possessing such hate filled beliefs, but their opinion of the matter is generated from the accepted notion, which had been approved of and passed down through the generations, that immigrants and minorities are far less superior than the "native" white men who have "always" lived in America.  The irony of this subject in the book is that although men of Babbitt's stature openly shared and joked with one another about their superiority to all other races, not one would ever admit that he was even by a small degree a bigot. By showing this to the reader Lewis was making the point that even though there were few that openly admitted to being a bigot almost everyone had some type of bigotry inside because to him it was an essential part of human nature.  Even though there is still racism in today's society it is not as widespread as it was during the time in which Lewis wrote.  Therefore Lewis' view of human nature is not entirely accurate when applied to modern society.  

 

            Although Babbitt never publicly articulated any racist type comments, his ideas toward immigrants and minorities could easily be affiliated with that of racial supremacy.  Although there was a brief period in which Babbitt did sympathize with the immigrants the majority of his life he deeply loathed them and thought they had no business in America.  This characteristic can be seen when he is dictating the news in the paper to his wife and refers to a man as a "Mick agitator", which probably meant he fought for the Irish immigrants' rights, and was overjoyed when there was mention of his deportation (Lewis 21).  In his lecture of the news, he went and to say on how the US should "step in and kick those Bolshevik cusses out" indicating that the Russians are not sophisticated enough to handle their own problems and need the US's assistance (Lewis 21).  This incident with the newspaper exemplifies the fact that Babbitt, while never admitting to it, has views that the white race is far superior to any other in the US and probably the world for that matter.  

          

            Babbitt often expressed his ideas of bigotry to the reader while thinking to himself, but there was one instance in which the silence could no longer be kept and some newly acquired friends of his shared their thoughts, which Babbitt himself could most definitely have held to be true.  This occurred on Babbitt's train ride to Maine for his vacation with Paul Riesling away...

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