Sunday, February 13, 2011
Before there was Rabbit...
Babbitt and friends from uppercrust midwestern city Zenith frequently laud Prohibition and something to protect those less imbued with propriety and moral fiber, but complain about it as applied to themselves, as said by one of Babbitt's traveling companions on a train to a Realtors' convention: "The way it strikes me is that it's a mighty beneficial thing for the poor zob that hasn't got any will-power but for fellows like us, it's an infringement of personal liberty!" Any "liberal" thoughts, politicians or ideas are brushed off by Babbitt and his crowd as dangerous socialism. Way to be relevant, 'Clair. Wish I could tell you that stuff hasn't petered off.
Examples like this demonstrate the subtle way Lewis weaves humor into a novel about personal redemption. He steps away from his characters a little and lets them expose their own hypocrisy and lack of self-awareness. Hang on for the big plot bomb, and you'll be rewarded with a sweeping exploration of what it means to follow society's ideals about success - notions that, not long ago, would hang over all of us.
Posted by What Book Today at 1:04 PM