The book takes its name from the principal character, George Babbitt, a middle-aged real estate salesman. He lives a successful life professionally, but he is unhappy. He lives in a fictional Midwestern town called "Zenith," whose chief virtue is conformity and whose religion is boosterism. He gradually becomes disillusioned with his lifestyle and then rebels against it. However, he eventually finds himself too weak to do so, and lapses back into conformity by the end of the novel.