Table of Contents | Message Board | Printable Version
The Babbitt's pay a visit to the Rieslings. The husbands and the wives exchange polite formalities till Zilla complains about Paul. When Paul gets provoked, he answers back and an argument ensues between the husband and wife. Myra looks embarrassed but Babbitt comes to the rescue of his friend by scolding Zilla. Zilla is taken aback. She breaks down and apologizes to Babbitt for her behavior. She gives permission to Paul to accompany Babbitt to Maine.
Shortly after this awkward incident, the two friends prepare to enjoy their small vacation. They equip themselves with fishing tackle and camping tents before the appointed day of their departure. They take a train to the country, where their adventure is supposed to begin. On the way, Babbitt takes the time to chat aimlessly with other men on the train.
Babbitt and Paul have finally won their freedom by telling their wives about their secret escape. However, this freedom comes at the expense of some hurt feelings. Babbitt thinks he is fortunate to have Myra for a wife. Though she is hurt by his desire to escape, she consents graciously. On the other hand Zilla is demanding and over-possessive. She expects Paul to give her more time and attention and when he doesn't fulfill her needs, and she accuses him of many things. To cover up her insecurity, she nags Paul. Babbitt thinks it is his responsibility to correct Zilla. To his delight, she apologizes to him and consents at last to Paul's vacation. Only later, when Myra accuses Babbitt of being selfish and self- righteous does he briefly question his involvement or his right to chastise Zilla.
The train ride serves mainly to illuminate the fact that most men in Babbitt's society are alike - typically middle-class men with unexamined and uninformed beliefs who sit around sharing their unenlightened and for the most part uninteresting opinions. Babbitt is completely at home among them.