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MonkeyNotes-Main Street by Sinclair Lewis
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Mills Bjornstam

Bjornstam is half American and half Swede. He is known as the 'Red Swede'. The children of Gopher Prairie love him and the adults hate him. He is the town's handyman. He understands plumbing better than anyone else. He also works in lumber camps, trades horses and is a good swamper. He earns enough money but does not care for money. Once he marries Bea, he starts a dairy and a poultry farm.

He had the longing to go to college, but could not. He loves to read books. His reading ranges from Byron and Tennyson to Ingersol. He is an atheist. He claims that the people of the town hate him because he does not envy them. He has a poor opinion of the people of Gopher Prairie. He does not consider even Vida to be intelligent. According to him only Guy Pollock, Carol, the mills foreman and himself have intelligence. Carol loves to talk to him and values his opinion very much.


His marriage brings a change in his attitude. He wants to become respectable. He even goes to the church. When he is ignored in the church, he is resigned to being the town's outcast but is determined that his son would go to college with the sons of Haydock. His ambition is to earn enough money so that the Ladies of Gopher Prairie would call on his wife Bea. When Bea falls ill, Vida and Maud come to see Bea. Bjornstam tells them that it is too late because they never cared to call, when Bea eagerly waited for them. The ladies get so annoyed that nobody attends the funeral of Bea and Olaf. Heart broken after his wife's death, he sells his cattle and leaves Gopher Prairie.

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