Babbitt Study Guide (Choose to Continue)


Babbitt: Character Profiles

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Charles McKelvey
McKelvey is an extremely successful businessman who once studied at college with Babbitt. Babbitt is equally envious and admiring of McKelvey.

Chum (T. Cholmondeley) Frink
This is the author of ‘poemulations’; he is also described as an ‘optimistic lecturer’ and the creator of ‘Ads. that Add’.

Colonel Rutherford Snow
The Colonel is the owner of the Advocate-Times. He is also part of the group that visit Babbitt in his office to coerce him into joining the Good Citizens’ League.

The Doppelbraus
These are Babbitt’s neighbors and he considers them to be ‘Bohemian’. However, during his rebellious phase he sees them in a more positive light.

Eddie and Louetta Swanson
Eddie and Louetta are neighbors of the Babbitts. Babbitt flirts with Louetta whilst Myra is away.

Eunice Littlefield
She is the daughter of Howard and girlfriend of Ted. Her secret marriage to Ted at the end of the novel is a challenge to the conformity of Floral Heights.

George Babbitt
Babbitt is the central character of this novel and he describes himself as a realtor (rather than a real-estate man). He is the eponymous hero and the readers witness his growing sense of dissatisfaction with trying to lead the moral life. He is also self-congratulatory and is often depicted as misinterpreting the views of others. To a certain extent, he is an early twentieth century everyman who is trying and failing to live the American Dream. Because of his material successes, which he believed would bring happiness, he is unable to identify why he is not content with his lot.

Gerald Doak (Sir)
This is an English business acquaintance of Charles McKelvey who becomes friendly with Babbitt.

Henry T. Thompson
Thompson is Babbitt’s father-in-law and business partner.

Howard Littlefield
This character is the next door neighbor of the Babbitt family and father of Eunice. He is the token academic of Babbitt’s acquaintances.

Jake Offutt
Offutt is a politician who uses Babbitt to buy land for him on the outskirts of Chicago.

Kenneth Escott
Escott is a reporter. He eventually marries Verona Babbitt.

Myra Babbitt
Myra is Babbitt’s long-suffering and overlooked wife. She acts as a foil to his blustering personality and on the occasions that she questions his behavior it is possible to measure how self-deluding he can be.

Paul Riesling
Paul is Babbitt’s closest friend from the time when they were at university together. He is also Myra’s second cousin. Babbitt regards him separately from the other men he socializes with and it is possible to see Babbitt’s ‘rebellion’ as being triggered by Paul’s imprisonment. Paul is imprisoned for shooting Zilla, and this act is the culmination of his despair with the life he has tried to lead.

Seneca Doane
Doane is a lawyer who attended college with Babbitt. He inspires Babbitt’s short-lived liberal stand against reactionary views.

Stanley Graff
Graff is a salesman in Babbitt’s firm. He is fired by Babbitt after using underhand tactics with a client.
Tanis Judique
Initially, this character is a prospective client for Babbitt’s company as he shows her a property. She becomes his mistress and confidante.

Ted (Theodore Roosevelt) Babbitt
The only son of Babbitt and Myra, Ted is characterized by his preference for socializing rather than studying. His marriage to Eunice at the end of the novel, and Babbitt’s acceptance of this, is a pivotal moment as Ted has acted for himself and Eunice rather than only thinking of conventions.

Tinka (Katherine) Babbitt
Tinka is the youngest Babbitt child.

Vergil Gunch
Gunch is a coal dealer and is highly regarded in the Elks and Boosters’ Club.
He becomes unfriendly towards Babbitt when Babbitt rebels against conformity. When Myra is ill, though, Gunch invites Babbitt to join the Good Citizens’ League, and Babbitt accepts.

Verona Babbitt
Verona is the eldest Babbitt child and is university educated. Her liberal views are depicted as contrary to her father’s in the earlier parts of the novel, and these views are limited in their desire for change. She marries Escott.

William Eathorne
As the president of the First State Bank, Eathorne supports Babbitt in an unscrupulous business deal. He also distances himself from Babbitt when Babbitt begins to rebel against conformity.

Zilla Riesling
She is the wife of Paul and is described as angry and manipulative. Although the novel mainly focuses on Paul and Babbitt’s dissatisfaction, there are brief moments when the narrative sympathizes with her disappointments in life. This comes specifically in Chapter Ten when Myra remonstrates with Babbitt after he has verbally attacked Zilla. Myra explains that Zilla is bored and broods too much. Later, she is also the victim of Paul’s feelings of powerlessness when he shoots her. She turns to religion after his imprisonment.


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