Discourse Analysis

Discourse Analysis - AMS 206 Discourse Analysis Discourse...

Info iconThis preview shows pages 1–3. Sign up to view the full content.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
AMS 206 Discourse Analysis April 05, 2011 Discourse Analysis Paper Sinclair Lewis’ novel, Babbitt , is one of the most important twentieth century works of art that focuses on addressing the struggles that the people during this time faced regarding modern life. Its 1922 publication caused a sensation in America. Babbitt , a satire of American living throughout the 1920’s, became an image and a shocking comparison for middle-class gratification, all the while exposing the worthlessness of the “mainstream vision of success.” Sinclair Lewis portrays the nature of a conformist society in which the anxieties of upholding social status can cause individuals to lose their real sense of self identity. Sinclair Lewis is able to do this by developing the idea of consumer culture where George Babbitt is a middle-class American businessman who seeks to obtain modern goods for the purpose of displaying them in his Floral Heights home to show outsiders he has achieved success. The stress Lewis portrays in his novel on the concept of modernity heavily correlates with the concept of mass culture. Lewis’ depiction of George Babbitt’s obsession with material goods in relation to mass culture is not just as tangible transitions in the way Babbitt lived but this depiction also challenges ideas of authority and deference. As a result of consumer culture, Babbitt stands as a symbol for the fear society was under due to advertisements and the concerns consumers felt to conform to a homogeneous society. Roland Marchand’s Advertising the American Dream Making Way for Modernity, 1920- 1940 , discusses numerous advertising strategies and practices that emerged during the 1920’s and the 1930’s. These practices and strategies paved the way for a new discourse of advertising during these decades. One of the major strategies advertisers used in order to sell new products was to play upon consumer’s needs and anxieties. During these times, people were fixated with
Background image of page 1

Info iconThis preview has intentionally blurred sections. Sign up to view the full version.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
the concept social status. Social status was identified with what you had; therefore, owning modern and advanced technology represented a person with riches, a position in society, and class. Throughout Babbitt , there are numerous examples of the anxieties George Babbitt is under in order to live up to image he believes society sees as most superior. One such example is when Babbitt is driving the three and a half blocks to the athletic club in chapter five. As readers, we are first presented with a commercialized landscape. To our surprise, this drive George Babbitt is on is then referred to as a “romantic adventure.” Babbitt’s adventure begins with him going over scientific budget planning in his head. Throughout this sequence, Babbitt’s tensions are framed. At one time, Babbitt felt “triumphantly wealthy” and now he characterizes himself as “perilously poor.” In order to get over this anxiety of his new classification of himself, Babbitt rushed into a small news and miscellany shop, and bought an electric cigar-
Background image of page 2
Image of page 3
This is the end of the preview. Sign up to access the rest of the document.

{[ snackBarMessage ]}

Page1 / 6

Discourse Analysis - AMS 206 Discourse Analysis Discourse...

This preview shows document pages 1 - 3. Sign up to view the full document.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
Ask a homework question - tutors are online