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MonkeyNotes-Main Street by Sinclair Lewis
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Chapter 4

Summary

Kennicott informs Carol that the Clarks invite them for dinner. Carol senses his longing to get back to work and lets him go. She finds the old-fashioned black walnut bed and the imitation maple bureau in the bedroom very stifling. She tries to unpack but feels that her clothes appear flashy and extravagant in the old fashioned house. She gives up the attempt and goes out to have her first look at the town.

She looks at every construction and corner of the town carefully. Being city bred she does not know that she is also being looked at and recognized as the doctor's wife. She walks round the entire town in thirty-two minutes. The Main Street consists of two- story brick shops and one and a half storied wooden houses. The houses appear small and weak and there are no parks or beautiful grounds to relieve the monotony. She looks at the three storied structure named Minnie Mashie House and finds it to be ugly and unclean. Dave Dyer's drug store, her husbands office, the motion picture theatre and Howland and Gould's grocery look equally unattractive .She gets the reek of blood at Dahl and Oleson's Meat Market and the stink of stale beer from the saloons.

She appreciates the Bon-Ton store for its neatness and cleanliness. Sam Clark's Hardware shop looks good but Chester Dashaway's Furnishing Emporium has a dismal look. From Billy's Lunch house wafts the odor of onion and lard and the sour smell of dairy advertises the warehouse. The two garages appear to be the most energetic places in the town. She looks at various other establishments-the library, the barber's shop, the church, the dismal looking post office, the damp school building and the State Bank but not one of them is attractive. The Farmer's National Bank built of marble looks beautiful but a grocery built of yellow bricks seems to elbow it out. The ugliness of the place unnerves her. But to her own surprise she finds herself telling her husband that Gopher Prairie appears to be a very interesting place.


Another young lady, Miss Bea Sorenson reaches Gopher Prairie by the same train as Carol. Being bored with farm work, she wishes to find a job in the city. She too, like Carol takes a walk around to look at the city. Unlike Carol she is awed and impressed by everything she sees and decides to accept work for even two dollars a week so that she could live in the city.

The dinner to welcome the newly weds is hosted by Sam Clark in his new house. Carol wears a frock with a low square neck, which reveals a little of her shoulder and neck. But after one look at the prim circle waiting to meet her, she wishes that she had worn a high-necked dress. She is given a briefing about each one of the guests, before being introduced to them by her husband. Harry Haydock-the owner of the Bon Ton store-and his wife Juanita is there. Beside them is Dave Dyer, the druggist and next to him is Jack Elder, the owner of the planing-mill and the Minnie Mashie House. Jack Elder owns a large share in the Farmer's National Bank. Seated next to Jack Elder is Luke Dawson, the richest man in the town. Next to Dawson are seated Nat Hicks, the tailor and Chet Dashaway, the undertaker and furniture-store man. Carol feels horrified that the tailor and the undertaker should be a part of her social circle. Kennicott proudly points out that the automobile baron Percy Bresnahan- born and brought up in Gopher Prairie-never minded the company of the undertaker. Carol promises to like all the people of his circle.

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