The novel begins in the 1920’s, a decade that had started in economic boom and avid consumerism, only to end crash and depression. This was a parallel used by Lewis to illustrate the theme of the story. He was trying to show that materialism and shadow attitudes of the middle class of America during this time period. Lewis bluntly criticizes his own characters to get his point across. Here he writes ,”He hadn’t any satisfaction in the new water cooler! And it was the very best of water coolers, up to date, scientific and right thinking. It had cost a great deal of money (in itself a virtue)” (Lewis pg. 31). This quote reflects Babbitt’s excitement about material items and how those items mirror his position in society. Babbitt’s morals and values were full of holes, which is what Lewis wanted to point out. He has chosen to satirize Babbitt as living in a fairy-tale world, oblivious to what was really going on around him.
Irony is very strong and evident throughout the story. Since Babbitt is the ultimate conformist, he must uphold on his own beliefs and values even though they are shallow and transparent. He spends his life trying to relate to the “s…
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…ect of Babbitt made the public realize what the American middle class was like in the 1920’s and how they eventually lost everything. I enjoyed reading the novel. Americans today in the 21st century should read Babbitt and learn from the mistakes Babbitt made. He chose to be unfaithful to his wife but he realized at the end that he didn’t want to take part in that anymore, be “free” from it. Americans need to try and free themselves from the unfaithful vibes in which they listen to when they go out and “cheat”. “We” need to turn our society around into more moral people. This may be difficult to do, because of the history behind this practice and how far back it extends but there is always room and time for change. If Lewis “watched” Babbitt grow and change, we as Americans can grow and change too!
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Brighton Beach Memoirs Family’s Struggle
Brighton Beach Memoirs Family’s Struggle
Brighton Beach Memoirs is the story of one family’s struggle to survive in the pre-World War II age of the “Great Depression”. This was a time of great hardship where pain and suffering were eminent. In this play, Neil Simon gives us a painfully realistic view of life during the late 1930s.
The setting takes place in Brighton Beach, Brooklyn, New York, in the fall of 1937. It is a lower-income area inhabited by mostly Jews, Irish, and Germans. The house is described as a wooden-framed, 2 floor, establishment near the beach.
The main character and narrator is Eugene Jerome. Eugene is a 15-year-old boy who is in the midst of going through puberty. Like Rusty-James in Rumble Fish, Eugene looks up to his older brother Stanley. His hobbies and hopes include playing baseball in hopes of becoming a New York Yankee, writing, and to see the “Golden Palace of the Himalayas”, which in other words is seeing a naked woman. Eugene always feels as if he is being blamed for everything that goes wrong. He finds liberation from a household of seven by writing in his diary, which he calls his memoirs.
Stanley is Eugene’s 18-year-old, older brother. Stanley can be described as a person who stands up for his principles. Eugene is constantly looking to him for advice with his pubescent “problems”. Stanley had to work young to support the family. We later see him losing his paycheck from gambling and almost joining the army.
Kate and Jack Jerome are Eugene’s parents. They are constantly looking to Eugene for things to be done. They have it very hard supporting their own family and her sister Blanche’s family. Jack had to take up many jobs to support everybody, which resulted in a heart attack. We later see Jacks relatives escaping from the Nazi occupation in Poland to come and live with him.
Blanche is Eugene’s aunt and Kate’s sister. When Blanche’s husband David died, she found she could not support her family. Kate and Jack agreed to take her and her two daughters, Nora and Laurie, in and support them. We see that Blanche has many problems of being independent. Her daughters, Nora and Laurie, have their own share of problems.