Babbitt, a middle-aged real estate broker, is merely a stereotypical middle class business man. He enjoys all the modern conveniences available to a man of his social class, but he is dissatisfied with his life. The novel Babbitt, by Sinclair Lewis, follows this ordinary man through many trials and tribulations. Throughout the novel, Babbitt conforms to the social norm. One is never sure who George Babbitt really is because he is never sure who he is. As the novel progresses, we see Babbitt become an important person in his town of Zenith, only later to come crashing down in the end, with only a final shred of hope for something better. The novel chooses to forget many of the changes that occurred during the 1920's. Some examples are the women's movement, and the African-American movements. One of the most important themes in Babbitt is the way American society, though supposedly free and democratic, tells its citizens what they should think. America is able to do that, in large part, because citizens like Babbitt are too lazy to think for themselves. Just as Babbitt's furniture is the same as his neighbors', his ideas reflect the accepted norm. Babbitt is a satiric look at one man and at an entire society. George Babbitt represents the typical prosperous, middle aged American business man of the 1920's. .
Babbitt is a mediocre man. He lives his life based on how society tells him to live. He has no consistent system of values, but believes that his values are uniform because he has worked hard. Babbitt has few opinions of his own, instead he merely recites from those in the editorial pages of the newspapers. Whenever he needs to impress anyone or settle arguments, he simply states what he has read. Babbitt is a booster, loudly promoting his city even when he does not understand what he is promoting. He takes pride in being modern, even though he knows nothing of the science and the engineering he salutes.