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MonkeyNotes-Babbitt by Sinclair Lewis
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Chapter 13

Babbitt is chosen to represent the State Association of Real Estate Boards in the annual convention. In one of his meetings with the delegation Chairman, Cecil Rountree, Babbitt voices his exalted views on real estate. Rountree is impressed. He asks Babbitt to read a paper on the subject at the convention. Babbitt feels honored but is weighed down by the responsibility given to him. He decides to write an ornate speech on the subject but keeps postponing the task. One night, on an impulse, he writes down a simple but powerful speech. The day of the speech, there is much fun and revelry. Babbitt reads his speech with enthusiasm. He is cheered and applauded by the audience. Soon, the delegates leave but Babbitt stays back for one more day along with a few members. In the company of his friends, he lets himself go. Forgetting his morality, he plays cards, drinks heavily, and visits a bawdyhouse. The next day he feels guilty. However, on reaching Zenith and getting involved with his work, he forgets all about the incident.


Notes

This chapter is important because it represents a marked change in the day to day routine Babbitt has fallen into. He is asked to give a speech and he struggles for the right platitudes and ornate sentences to impress the audience. He finally sits down and writes his ideas simply and clearly. His speech is well received. He is singled out for attention. Giddy with the wonder of it all, he stays on for a few days. The atmosphere and revelry lingers and he does several things he might never have done before.

Later, he regrets his loose actions and feels guilty. As pointed out earlier, Babbitt always commits mistakes only to regret them when it is too late. Still, the intersection of his old life with his new one begins here.

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