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KEY LITERARY ELEMENTS
The novel is set in Zenith, a modern commercial city in the American Midwest. Most of the action takes place here. Zenith could be any city--nondescript, medium-sized, quintessentially urban America. Babbitt's house is a typical middle-class home with all the modern accessories.
As well, there are several short trips in which the setting changes. Babbitt and his friend Paul make a trip to Maine. Maine is pastoral, relaxing, natural--everything Zenith is not. There are business trips to Monarch and Chicago, which are described only for the business conventions held there. And finally there is a short stop in New York City, which glorifies the majestic construction of the city.
George F. Babbitt - a successful real estate broker who is mired in the monotony of his conventional life.
Myra Babbitt - Babbitt's middle-aged, not very attractive wife; she is devoted and compliant.
Paul Riesling - Babbitt's introverted friend. He becomes bored with his wife and has an affair. At some point he snaps and shoots his wife
Judique - the fashionable, middle-aged bohemian with whom Babbitt has an affair.
Theodore Roosevelt (Ted) Babbitt - the teenage son of George and Myra Babbitt. Like many other modern boys of his age, Ted is interested in cars, parties, girls, and making money. He is a good mechanic and athlete, but a poor student.
Verona Babbitt - the first-born child of George and Myra Babbitt. She tries very hard to be sophisticated and to show off her good education. She tries also to be politically conscious.
Katherine (Tinka) Babbitt - the younger child of the Babbitts. Tinka is cute and intelligent.
Zilla Riesling - Paul's overbearing and possessive wife. She is suspicious and critical of her husband's behavior.
Kenneth Escheat - a young reporter for the Advocate Times. He befriends Verona Babbitt and eventually marries her.
Howard Littlefield - Babbitt's friendly, scholarly neighbor who is Eunice's father. He is also the executive of the Street Traction Company.
Eunice Littlefield - Howard Littlefield's daughter and Ted's girl friend. She is a modern teenager who wants to be an actress.
Theresa Macgoun - the young stenographer in Babbitt's office.
Stanley Graff - the outside salesman in Babbitt's office, he makes money by cheating the customers; he is fired by Babbitt.
Sir Gerald Doak - the reputed British industrialist whom Babbitt befriends in Chicago.
Seneca Doane - the leftist leader, attorney, and liberal candidate for the post of Mayor with whom Babbitt becomes temporarily fascinated.
Reverend John Jennison Drew - Minister of Chatham Road Presbyterian church, he makes Babbitt a member of the committee to improve Sunday school.