“Most men end up leading lives of quiet desperation”

This quote is in one sentence the main character of Babbitt.  I don’t read fiction very often these days but found Upton Sinclair’s novel to be a fantastic look at the social narrative of society and how it can repress us so easily.   The book follows the story of a fairly prominent member of stereotypical 1900s suburbia where status and ‘what is proper’ are the laws of the land.  The satirical dialogues between characters drip of Sinclair’s disdain for  mainstream consciousness and the common narrative (American Dreamesque)

The character Babbitt himself won’t resonate with every reader due to his very very specific situation (a family man in the suburbs who feels like he’s missing something).  However Sinclair does this incredible job of capturing the subtle unrest that we humans can feel bubble up to our conscious mind from time to time.  A creeping wave of anxiety or fear about our lives and our true purpose in the universe.    In my opinion that’s why this story is so powerful, it uses a seemingly common/insignificant person to illustrate the darkest parts of the human psyche.  Well worth the read and some person reflection.

Written by : Ethan Drower

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