Zenith Babbit Book Report

Superior Essays
Black Tuesday signified the first catastrophic event in a series to come initiating the Great Depression which latest from 1929 to 1939, marking the deepest and longest economic downturn the Western world has ever seen. Not only did this spark several fundamental government programs that still exist today, but it signified a shift in literature and augmented its growth. Prior to the Great Depression, novels telling of adventure, free spirits, and politics were popular amongst communities. This economic crisis resulted in millions of unemployed Americans with free time to spare, allowing reading to become a popular pastime. Based on the new economic, political, and social situations present, literature became an escape into what might be. Novels …show more content…
After a trip to Maine in attempt to alleviate their discontent, Riesling and Babbitt return to their wives and families. Riesling and his wife soon engage in another argument and Riesling snaps and shoots his wife. He is sentenced to three years in prison. Babbitt soon craves the affection of another woman, Tanis Judique, after the loss of his best friend. He begins his affair, turns to a life of drinking and partying, and takes an active role in the city’s strike. With this internal rebellion, Babbitt’s friends attempt to bring him back into a conservative role. Upon his refusal and as word of his rebellious life spreads, his wife falls ill and his life begins to fall apart. He soon returns to his conservative lifestyle and his wife. His son, Ted, marries a girl and, although Babbitt had hoped that he would attend college, he encourages his to follow his own path and do as he pleases since he could not do the same (Lewis). Similarly to The Great Gatsby, both novels tell of attempts to find happiness and comfort and end in terrible deaths. The death of Gatsby, Myrtle, and Riesling, as well as the internal death of Babbitt showcase the troubled lives and conflicts that many faced as the country entered a darker time. However, these novels were exciting and adventurous, allowing many to live out …show more content…
Reflecting on the results of the economic downturn, many novels demonstrated the journeys and adventures taken to reach new lands in hopes to find work. “Never before or since have so many of America’s best writers focused on the lives of the poor and the working class or written with such a furious sense of political engagement” (Kirsch). Novels embody starving and struggling families whose lives were destroyed, making them relatable to the more than 13 million Amerians who shared the same hardships. Authors began to take on a “story-telling technique” with their style of writing (Kirsch). Also, in the political realm, distrust of the government became a popular theme as presidents and Congress struggled to improve the economy. The public became weary of the government and industries and blamed them for their severe situation. Authors also keyed in on the new desire for money that most Americans had. Instead, though, the wrote that the desire for big money led to corruption and drove many to failure. However, they did not fail to capture the immense desire for wealth. For in fact, due to the economic slump, Americans dreamed of weath, riches, and an escape from reality above all. First published in 1936, John Dos Passos through his novel The Big Money, analyzes the causes of the Great Depression and how the love for “big money” drove

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