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MonkeyNotes-Main Street by Sinclair Lewis
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OTHER ELEMENTS

STYLE

Sinclair Lewis has a vivid style. The graphic details led E.M.Foster to calL him a 'photographic realist'. In fact the Nobel price was awarded to him for his "powerful and vivid art... and his ability to use wit and humor in the creation of original characters".

His description of nature provides the appropriate background for the mood of the characters. When Carol goes out for a walk with Erik they pass a grove of 'scrub poplars... now looming like a menacing wall'. When she is with Kennicott beside the lake she watches 'long grass... mossy bogs and red winged black birds'. When she is brooding she sees gray fields closing in on her.

He uses verbs very effectively. Carol 'perceives' when she observes something seriously. When she is upset with Kennicott for forgetting to give her money, she 'commands' him to come upstairs because she does not wish to discuss the matter in the presence of company and Kennicott 'clumps' after her.

His use of satire is very effective and adds color to his narration. Carol watches a professional play, which is very banal in all aspects and finds the audience lapping it up. She comments sarcastically 'the only trouble with The girl from Kankakee is that it is too subtle for Gopher Prairie'.


The description of the idiosyncrasies of the occupants of Gopher Prairie is full of humor. When Raymie eulogizes about the trust of Kennicott's patients in the doctor comments wryly, 'It's me that got to do all the trusting', and in a dramatic aside, whispers to Carol 'gentle man hen'. When Kennicott is excited about the motor trip he expects Carol 'to be effusive about academic questions as 'now I wonder if we could stop at Baraboo...' Kennicott's faith in cars is a 'High-Church cult' with 'electric sparks for candles'. Piston rings become the 'alter-vessels' and 'liturgy' composed of 'intoned and metrical road comments'.

Sinclair Lewis is compared to Charles Dickens for the way he condemns imitativeness and conventionality. And in the way he seeks out the sore spots of the society and in criticizing morals and manners. He has a leisurely way of telling a story paying meticulous attention to even the smallest details. The division of the chapters into several parts is very effective because in each division the focus is on one aspect of the matter handled in that chapter. It stimulates reader's interest. The matter he has at hand is copious and fabulous and the presentation is romantic.

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