Babbitt

Babbitt
Babbitt fue publicada en 1922 y es una crítica a la sociedad americana. Babbitt fue esencial para que Sinclair Lewis ganara el Premio Nobel en 1930…

There was nothing of the giant in the aspect of the man who was beginning to awaken on the sleeping-porch of a Dutch Colonial house in that residential district of Zenith known as Floral Heights.
His name was George F. Babbitt. He was forty-six years old now, in April, 1920, and he made nothing in particular, neither butter nor shoes nor poetry, but he was quick in the calling of selling houses for more than people could afford to pay. His large head was pink, his brown hair thin and dry.
His face was babyish in sleep, despite his wrinkles and the red spectacle-dents on the slopes of his nose. He was not fat but he was exceedingly well fed; his cheeks were solid, and the unroughened hand which lay helpless upon the khaki-colored blanket was slightly puffy. He seemed prosperous, extremely married and unromantic; and altogether unromantic appeared this sleeping-porch, which looked on one sizable elm, two respectable grass-lands, a cement driveway, and a corrugated iron garage. Yet Babbitt was again dreaming of the fairy child, a dream more romantic than scarlet pagodas by a silver sea.

For years the fairy child had come to him. Where others saw but Georgie Babbitt, she discerned gallant youth. She waited for him, in the darkness beyond mysterious groves. When at last he could slip away from the crowded house he darted to her. His wife, his clamoring friends, sought to follow, but he escaped, the girl fleet beside him, and they crouched together on a shadowy hillside. She was so slim, so white, so eager! She cried that he was gay and valiant, that she would wait for him, that they would sail-- Rumble and bang of the milk-truck.
Babbitt moaned; turned over; struggled back toward his dream. He could see only her face now, beyond misty waters. The furnace-man slammed the basement door. A dog barked in the next yard. As Babbitt sank blissfully into a dim warm tide, the paper-carrier went by whistling, and the rolled-up Advocate thumped the front door. Babbitt roused, his stomach constricted with alarm. As he relaxed, he was pierced by the familiar and irritating rattle of someone cranking a Ford: snap-ah-ah, snap-ah-ah, snap-ah-ah. Himself a pious motorist, Babbitt moved with the unseen driver, with him waited through tense hours for the roar of the starting engine, with him agonized as the roar ceased and again began the infernal patient snap-ah-ah--a round, flat sound, a shivering cold-morning sound, a sound infuriating and inescapable. Not till the rising voice of the motor told him that the Ford was moving was he released from the panting tension. He glanced once at his favorite tree, elm twigs against the gold patina of sky, and looked for sleep as for a drug. He who had been a boy very credulous of life was no longer greatly interested in the possible and improbable adventures of each new day.
He escaped from reality till the alarm-clock rang, at seven-twenty.
It was the best of nationally advertised and quantitatively produced alarm-clocks, with all modern attachments, including cathedral ring, intermittent alarm, and a phosphorescent dial. Babbitt was proud of being awakened by such a rich device. Socially it was almost as creditable as buying expensive cord tires.
He morosely admitted now that there was no more escape, but he lay and detested the routine of the real-estate business, and disliked his family, and disliked himself for disliking them. The evening before, he had played poker at Vergil Gunch's till midnight, and after such holidays he was irritable before breakfast. It may have been the tremendous home-brewed beer of the prohibition-era and the cigars to which that beer attracted him; it may have been resentment of return from this fine, bold man-world to a restricted region of wives and stenographers, and of suggestions not to smoke so much.
From the bedroom beside the sleeping-porch, his wife's detestably cheerful "Time to get up, Georgie boy," and the itchy sound, the brisk and scratchy sound, of combing hairs out of a stiff brush. He grunted; he dragged his thick legs, in faded baby-blue pajamas, from under the khaki blanket; he sat on the edge of the bed, running his fingers through his wild hair, while his plump feet mechanically felt for his slippers. He looked regretfully at the blanket--forever a suggestion to him of freedom and heroism. He had bought it for a camping trip which had never come off. It symbolized gorgeous inactivity, gorgeous cursing, virile flannel shirts.
He moved to his feet, groaning at the waves of pain which passed behind his eyeballs. Though he waited for their burning recurrence, he looked faintly out at the yard. It delighted him, as always; it was the neat yard of a successful business man of Zenith, that is, it was perfection, and made him also perfect. He regarded the corrugated iron garage. For the three-hundred-and-sixty-fifth time in a year he reflected, "No class to that tin shack. Have to build me a frame garage.
But by golly it's the only thing on the place that isn't up-to-date!" While he stared he thought of a community garage for his estate development, Glen Oriole. He stopped puffing and jiggling. His arms were akimbo. His petulant, sleep-swollen face was set in harder lines. He suddenly seemed capable, an official, a man to contrive, to direct, to get things done… (Párrafos de Babbit, de Sinclair Lewis)

Para saber
Akimbo: "Having the hand on the hip and elbow turned outward" or just "in a bent position." El término fue registrado por primera vez en lengua inglesa en 1400. En el siglo 17 de escribía Kembo. Middle English Dictionary propone que akimbo puede estar relacionado al francés antiguo chane.  En español akimbo puede ser traducido razonablemente como “brazos en jarra.”

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