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MonkeyNotes-Babbitt by Sinclair Lewis
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Chapter 4

Babbitt is busy assessing and composing advertisements. Feeling satisfied with his work, he sits down to smoke a cigarette. Immediately, he tries to devise a means to quit smoking. Shortly afterwards, he rings up his friend Paul Riesling and makes a lunch date with him. Back in the office, he deals with his clients, Conrad Lyte and a grocer. He settles the matter to the satisfaction of all.


Notes

In this chapter the inherent contradiction in Babbitt's character is revealed. Babbitt does things that he really doesn't approve of. He smokes a cigarette but feels bad doing so. He is good at his job though "he is ignorant of the most elementary and important matters pertinent to real-estate." He supports the wisdom of many laws but does not always observe them. He does not believe in cheating or making money at other's expense except when it is necessary to please himself and others.

Babbitt the businessman is completely different from Babbitt the family man. Inside the house, he feels constrained and ineffective at dealing with family matters. However, in his office he acts confidently and conducts himself respectfully. He reveals himself as a disciplined boss and a diplomatic salesman. He deals with his customers tactfully and satisfies them. He resolves the conflict of Conrad Lyte and Purdy to the satisfaction of both, and makes a profit for himself in the bargain.

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