Babbitt vs. Looking Backward and America in 1920 Question 1

Babbittvs. Looking Backward and America in 1920


Theauthors of the novels Babbit and Looking Backward take a differenttone to express the American situation in the late nineteenth andearly twentieth century. In the novel Looking Backward, EdwardBellamy takes an optimistic tone to give hope to the Americans amidsocial, economic and political challenges. Bellamy explains thathumanity will have better civilization after solving the chaos thatthey faced by embracing human values (Bellamy 9). To succeed in thistone, Bellamy adopts a utopian style, where he writes about a futurethat is a century ahead. The utopian style gives an optimistic toneto by describing the ability of human beings to reason anddemonstrating optimism by describing how the human goodness canchange the world.

Onthe other hand, Sinclair Lewistakes a satirical tone to critique the American society and thebehavior of the people.Particularly, the novel takes a satirical tone by critiquing themiddle-class life of the American society. According to the satire,Lewiscritiques the way Americans conform to the middle-class withoutthinking about the status of the society. The satirical tone is whatgives the book its title “Babbit” as Lewistries to present an American professional conforming to themiddle-class standards.


In1920, the American society was marked by a growing middleclass as asocial class. This was because of the growth of industries and theenlargement of the employment opportunities. In addition, the 1920American society had an increase in the number of populations livingin urban centers than in the farms. American professional likerealtor Babbit enjoyed better officers, shopping in the streets andmeeting groups of employees and satisfied with the services in towns(Lewis 34). This was as a result of the growth of urban centers dueto industrial growth, and population by the middle class. Moreover,the Americans were becoming a consumer society that had disposableincome and increase in demand for products.


Bellamy,Edward.LookingBackward.Boston:Houghton, Mifflin &amp Co., 1889, Print

Lewis,Sinclair. Babbitt,NewYork: Harcourt, Brace and Company, Inc., 1922, Print