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Babbit & Winseburg, Ohio

In both Babbit and Winesburg, Ohio we are presented with two cities, one large and one small, whose inhabitants represent the superficial, materialistic and pretentious values and norms of a democratic and capitalistic society. However, in each we are treated to a different main character. One is heroic and true to his inner self. One is pathetic and true only to externally imposed norms. One comes to wholeness of self through development, retains his inner voice and spirit and directs his self-aware love towards community. One does not explore himself or develop at all, represses his inner voice and spirit, and directs his purposefully unconscious actions towards the norms of the materially successful social majority. George Willard is the heroic character in Winesburg, and George Babbit is the pathetic character in Zenith. Willard is heroic in the sense that he is able to keep his inner dream and love alive in the midst of a community whose norms do not permit the development of such internal and spiritual character traits. He is torn between his own desires and those of the material society about him who try to impose their norms on others. He is able to stave off the imposition of these norms and find a deeper place of true self-awareness that is directed through love towards himself and his fellow man. Babbit does not develop at all throughout the course of his experiences, a period of two years. While he does temporarily decided to fight the evil influences of a material society that ostracizes anything not in line with its norms, he reverts back to his unquestioning superficial self once he realizes having original thoughts and contradicting social norms is isolating and unprofitable. This analysis will compare and contrast the social norms of the societies that produce George Babbit and George Willard. It will also compare and contrast Babbit and Willard. A conclusion will discuss the relevance of these two char...

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Babbit & Winseburg, Ohio. (1969, December 31). In LotsofEssays.com. Retrieved 00:04, December 01, 2021, from https://www.lotsofessays.com/viewpaper/1685105.html