Teen Conformity In Sinclair Lewis' Babbitt And In Society Today

3332 words - 13 pages

Teen Conformity in Babbitt and in Society Today

 
   In society today, people feel the need to belong. They feel as though they have to be a part of something in order to feel special. At times, they will go so far as to lose their individuality and submit themselves into complete ignorance just to be able to know that there is someone or something to which they can always fall back on. Conformity is one of the most common and most apparent forms of Babbittry in the twenty - first century. First, the question must be answered: "What is conformity?" The answer, of course, is very simple. Conformity is a person changing their attitude or behavior on their own in order to fulfill certain social norms (Ferguson). Conforming to social norms can mainly be seen in peer pressure with adolescents. "Peer pressure is the influence that people in your age group exert on you." (Kowalski 6). Every day on television, there are advertisements for cars, beauty products, music, and clothes. Peer pressure can also be seen with drug use, types of music, clothes, and the list goes on. People feel as though if they give into these peer pressures, then all of their problems will simply go away. They will no longer be picked on for listening to the wrong music or wearing the wrong clothes. It is certainly much easier than resistance (Ferguson). This of course would result in confrontation and leads to isolation.

 

The novel Babbitt by Sinclair Lewis certainly demonstrated the need for an individual to conform to social norms. The main character's son, Theodore Roosevelt Babbitt, or Ted, accurately represents how teenagers conform in order to feel a part of something. Ted often demonstrates the need to be different than his father and to be "up with the times."  A perfect example of this in the book is when Ted presents his Father with correspondence courses he would like to attend as opposed to school. This part is a perfect representation of how sometimes teenagers like to conform to being rebellious against their parents and higher institutions. His views are characteristic of the common teenager that school and our elders can't teach us anything. This point is obvious when Ted says (concerning college), "Yuh, but Dad, they just teach a lot of old junk that isn't any practical use - except the manual training and typewriting and basketball and dancing - and in these correspondence courses, gee, you can get all kinds of stuff that would come in handy." (Lewis 77). Ted speaks about how frustrated he is with his Dad being content with simply sitting around the house and doing nothing (Lewis 220). His need to be different and to not go to college is a perfect example of a teenager's need to rebel against their parents. Ted's assumption that his elders are boring is another form of teen conformity. Even today, children wish to do things that they think are better as opposed to what their elder's tell them.

 

...

Find Another Essay On Teen Conformity in Sinclair Lewis' Babbitt and in Society Today

"Babbitt" By Sinclair Lewis Essay

549 words - 2 pages Babbitt is set in the modern Midwestern city of Zenith. George F. Babbitt, a 46- year-old real estate broker, enjoys all the modern conveniences available to a prosperous middle-class businessman, yet he is dissatisfied with his life. When the novel opens, Babbitt has begun to regularly indulge in fantasies about a fairy girl who makes him feel like a gallant youth. Babbitt's family consists of his three children, Verona, Ted, and Tinka, and his

George Babbitt of Sinclair Lewis' Babbitt

1765 words - 7 pages George Babbitt: Image of a Presbyterian        In Babbitt, Sinclair Lewis portrays religion as a corrupt business.  In fact, he emphasizes this by focusing on his main character George Babbitt.  George Babbitt is characterized as a businessman in Zenith.  He is a man preoccupied about his reputation and his image before the main leaders of the town he lives in.  Lewis creates a hypocritical figure for Babbitt through his reasons for

Key Elements of Sinclair Lewis' Babbitt

576 words - 2 pages Key Elements of Babbitt Sinclair Lewis, the author of Babbitt, devised several key literary elements to explain his full effect and purpose for writing his novel.  Babbitt is a satirist look at not only one man, but an entire society as well.  He exposes the hypocrisy and mechanization of American Society in the 1920's.  In the novel Lewis focuses on his main character Babbitt, the protagonist throughout much of

Conspicuous Consumption in Sinclair Lewis' Babbit

2120 words - 8 pages Conspicuous Consumption in Sinclair Lewis' Babbit      The idea of conspicuous consumption, or buying unnecessary items to show one's wealth, can be seen in Babbitt by Sinclair Lewis.  Lewis describes the main character of the book, George F. Babbitt, as a person who has his values and priorities all mixed up.  Babbitt buys the most expensive and modern material goods just to make himself happy and make people around his aware of his

The Idealization of Science in Sinclair Lewis' Arrowsmith

2550 words - 10 pages argues that its uncompromising ideals and attitudes should be admired and embraced by society in general. Notes: 1. Sinclair Lewis, Arrowsmith (New York: Signet Classics, 1980), 430. 2. Ibid., 37, 13. 3. Ibid., 36. 4. Laurence R. Veysey, The Emergence of the American University (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1965), 174. 5. Robert V. Bruce, The Launching of Modern American Science 1846 - 1876 (New York, Alfred A. Knopf, 187) 138, 137

The 20s And Sinclair Lewis

1647 words - 7 pages The theme in books by Sinclair Lewis1 relates to the time in which they were written. In both Babbit (1922) and Main Street (1920) Lewis shows us the American culture of the 1920's. He writes about the growing cities, the small towns, the common American man, the strong American need to conform, cultural integration, morals (or lack of in some cases), and he touches upon the women lib movement. All of these and more successfully describe the

Symbolism and Conformity in Dead Poet's Society - English 10 - Essay

789 words - 4 pages For my exit project I chose to analyze the symbolism in Dead Poet’s Society and also look at conformity as one of the main themes. What is conformity? Conformity revolves around the idea that one must modify their behaviour or attitudes in order to comply with the standards of peers and groups. Conformity is one form of social influence and is very much pervasive in social life. Social influence is the idea that the presence of others can

Communication in Society Today

969 words - 4 pages on a person or one party, but to the entirety, the whole world. In this manner of communication, people tend to be more expressive thus exposing themselves in social media. Their main goal is to introduce themselves to the greater society for popularity or public acceptance. On the other hand, it is also known as a form of self-discovery and self-actualization, where people who cannot express themselves personally can have social media as an

Pre-teen Fashion And The Role Of Women In Society

577 words - 2 pages dollars with their transparent plastic purses and glittering makeup, which makes one wonder if these girls are getting shimmered up for their teddy bears. Not only that, the entire female gender is degraded in today's society where they are forced to believe that more exposure gives them more freedom and acceptance. Now, women who prefer to show less of their sexuality or those that cover for religious reasons are thought of as oppressed, imprisoned

Conformity and Rebellion in Antigone

977 words - 4 pages appropriate to rebel and create conflict when we believe in doing the right thing to do, but someone is taking the necessary tool away from us so we can’t accomplish those goals. Also, it is appropriate to conform when violence gets out of hand. The changes that happen make us, the readers better individuals and once we have the conflicts solved, we won’t repeat the same mistakes and then conformity is possible. It is appropriate to rebel and create

Non Conformity and Society

550 words - 2 pages Even though an overwhelming number of people believe that law and its implementation is the decisive factor that determines the success of a society. But is this generalization justified? Tim Li explores whether this idea is reality or just another myth.A society is based on a system of rules and regulations which all individuals are expected to abide by. Conformity, in general, means to go in accordance with those rules that govern our society

Similar Essays

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

The Republican Party In Sinclair Lewis' Babbitt

2033 words - 8 pages The Republican Party in Sinclair Lewis' Babbitt          Sinclair Lewis' Babbitt portrayed a man bent on following his political party; his actions seemingly followed that religiously, and today's version of the Republican Party is proof that we are not too far off from Lewis' version, despite the expanse of time. George Babbitt, the main character in Lewis' novel, viewed the world in the eyes of a businessman. He saw immigrants as a

Comparing Satire In Babbitt By Sinclair Lewis And The Simpsons

2275 words - 9 pages The Power of Satire in Babbitt and The Simpsons      Sinclair Lewis used his writing to promote the enrichment of American society by attacking the weaknesses he perceived in his era.  His most notable work, Babbitt, is a satire on the middle class lifestyle and attitude of the 1920s.  Lewis' satirical style and voice is comparable to the modern television series The Simpsons, written by Matt Groening.  Babbitt and The Simpsons

The Power Of Conformity In The Novel "Babbitt" By Sinclair Lewis

1748 words - 7 pages In the Sinclair Lewis novel Babbitt, the character of Babbitt is completely controlled by the power of conformity. Conformity is so powerful that even after babbitt realizes the stifling nature of the society in which he lives he is powerless to change his fate as a member of conformist society.George F. Babbitt is a man who is completely controlled by the conformist society in which he lives. Pressure to conform lies in all aspects of Babbitt's