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MonkeyNotes-Babbitt by Sinclair Lewis
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Chapter 31

Babbitt begins to think about Myra's tolerance and dignity. Her behavior is in striking contrast to the members of Tanis' group. He is suddenly ashamed of the way he has been treating her and vows to act more like a good husband. He avoids Tanis even though she calls him up. In desperation, Tanis writes him a letter asking to talk. Babbitt goes to see her and is struck by the realization that she is not young and wild, as he had once fantasized. Instead she is a middle-aged woman acting like a child. He tells her he wants to end the ridiculous relationship. He leaves.


Notes

Babbitt seems to realize his mistake before it is too late. Myra's quiet presence, slow persuasion, and dignified manner, make him repent his irresponsible behavior. He is also able to assess the true value of Myra in comparison to the superficial existence of Tanis and her group. As a result, he decides to cut off his relationship with Tanis. The real significance is that Babbitt might be saved from the consequences of his own mid-life crisis. For a time, it almost seemed he was heading down the same path Paul did. But in this scene, he appears to break with precedent. He ends the affair, vows to treat his wife better, and begins to detach himself from the odd rebelliousness of the past weeks. It turns out this reprieve is only temporary--the calm before the storm.

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