In Chapter 9 of Babbitt, why is it important for Babbitt to have this party?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

A lavish dinner party is an important confirmation of the Babbitts' social status. It's a way for them to show off, to make everyone admire them for their wealth and (alleged) sophistication. The problem is that it also takes George out of his comfort zone. He's very much a creature of habit, and the party severely disrupts his normal routine, especially when he has to go out and buy some hooch for his guests.

By the end of the evening, Babbitt has been reduced to tears by the whole experience. He's finally started to realize the utter vacuity of the materialistic life he's been leading. Bored out of his mind by his complacent, money-obsessed friends, George desperately wants freedom, the kind of freedom that his shallow bourgeois existence cannot provide him. Maybe it was important for him to throw the party to maintain an outward facade of social respectability, but it's done nothing for the health of his soul.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

Posted on

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Here at enotes only one question may be posted at a time; therefore, the first one has been addressed:

Firmly entrenched in the middle class of Zenith, the Babbitts have a party to celebrate George's successful, albeit corrupt, business gains.  The party is less about entertainlng friends than it is about showing off George's success.  Lewis writes,

Babbitt was fond of his friends, he loved the important of being host, and shouting, "Certainly, you're going to have some more chicken--the idea!"

However, it is not long before the guests begin to wear on Babbitt, for "there was no magic in his friends."  He finds himself dreaming of going to Maine where he can go outdoors and experience nature alone, away from his unsatisfying life with his wife. He pictures himself with Paul there beside a "tranquil lake of evening."  This dream is as "overpowering and imaginative as homesickness."  Clearly, Babbitt wearies of his tedious materialistic life that measures everything in terms of financial gains and social status.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

Posted on

Soaring plane image

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial