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MonkeyNotes-Main Street by Sinclair Lewis
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Notes

This chapter contains snapshots of the American Middle West of 1920. The descriptions of the prairie lands, the farmers and the hunting trip are very vivid. It also shows how Carol is able to focus on nature and find it to be greater than she is. It elaborates on how she rediscovers her sense of dignity and greatness. Her socialistic ideas and dislike of materialism are still intact. She condemns all the rich privileged people -including herself-as parasites, because they live off the hard working farmers. Kennicott defends the system pragmatically. He points out that the town supports the farmers by lending them money and providing them with the other services that they need. He tells her that if the farmers were allowed to be in power, they would make him a salaried doctor so that he will not be able to charge any fees for his services. Carol is silenced by her love for her husband but the conviction of the social injustice remains in her mind.

Another character Raymond P.Wutherspoon is introduced in this chapter in a very humorous manner. His pretensions of being an intellectual and the travelling salesman's responses to each one of Raymie's statements are very funny. When Raymie self - righteously describes how he persuaded the library to withdraw a book which had an immoral theme, the giggling salesman wants to know how he could get his hands on it. When Raymie boasts about how he suggested that the Bon-Ton store should have a cornice, the salesman whispers 'tin' and Raymie is provoked enough to 'bare his teeth like a belligerent mouse'.


Two more important characters are introduced in this chapter. Vida Sherwin and Guy Pollock are both outsiders like Carol and they too see the ugliness of Gopher Prairie. Carol sees in Vida a kindred spirit whereas Vida is more patronizing towards Carol. She decides what Carol can do for the town. Carol does not understand the veiled hint given by Vida as to where she could tread safely with her reformist ideas. Guy Pollock is the learned man in whom Carol sees a companion with whom she could discuss literature. But she fails to observe his diffidence. She is also oblivious of the fact that Kennicott readily tolerates a Raymie Wutherspoon or a Guy Pollock only because they amuse her. Once again she lets her imagination run wild with visions of her own literary group bringing knowledge of Galsworthy-the great playwright-and the launching of the dramatic club.

Kennicott is presented as a mature sensible person. His love for his wife is revealed in the way he tolerates Raymie and Guy Pollock. He has a sense of humor too. When Raymie observes "Dr.Kennicott wouldn't marry a lady that didn't have (a sense of) humor" Kennicott's remark "you bet. I'm a jokey old bird. Come on, Carrie; let's beat it" proves that he can be witty when he wants.

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