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MonkeyNotes-Main Street by Sinclair Lewis
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Chapter 6

Summary

Carol redecorates her house. She replaces the old furniture with a cozy divan and big chairs, and the old relics-the picture of the 'Doctor' and the phonograph-with artifacts, all ordered from Minneapolis. She unites the front and the back parlor by knocking off the partition. She chooses blue and yellow colors to paint the room. A Japanese Obi with an intricacy of gold thread on ultramarine tissue and a squat blue jar between two yellow candles takes the place of the old phonograph. The divan with pillows of saffire velvet and gold bands takes the place of the old sofa. Kennicott admits that it feels more comfortable than the old sofa. However, Carol is allowed to decorate only one room because Kennicott plans to build a new house.

The refurnishing of the house attracts wide attention from every corner of Gopher Prairie. Even Mrs. Bogart, who is not a part of Carol's circle, visits Carol to look at the changes. She lives in a house across the alley behind Carol's house. She is a widow with three sons, a Baptist and is considered to be a good influence.

Mrs. Bogart looks around, asks about the price of the chairs and comments on Carol's extravagance. She advises Carol that a wife should follow her husband's faith and as Kennicott was brought up as a Baptist, she should attend the Baptist church. She informs that Kennicott's mother used to visit her often. She cautions that the young Haydocks and Dyers are not very dependable but adds that Carol could always turn to Aunt Bogart. She departs after expressing her hope that Kennicott and Carol will not have sickness or quarrels. Carol opens the windows to let out the melancholy sighs left behind by Mrs. Bogart.


Carol had decided when she was a spinster that if she got married she would have an allowance. But after her marriage she finds it difficult to explain the need for an allowance to Kennicott especially because he loves Carol asking him for money. She discovers that the men of Gopher Prairie enjoy making their wives beg for money for the household expenditure and she finds it very humiliating. One day she forgets to take money from Kennicott and needs sugar urgently. She prefers to shop at Axel Eggs store because the prices are low in his store. So she decides to open an account with Axel Egg but he informs that he accepts only cash. She marches to her husband's office indignantly but finds him at Dave Dyer's medical store. She witnesses Dave Dyer's wife begging for ten dollars to buy underclothes for the children. She calls Kennicott up to his office and informs him about her humiliation at Axel's store. She then breaks down and a very repentant Kennicott gives her fifty dollars and promises to remember to give her money regularly.

After Mrs. Bogart's visit Carol becomes more conscious about spending money. But for her house-warming party she makes extravagant and meticulous plans. She orders food from Minneapolis, stitches paper costumes for her guests to wear for the masquerade and orders Kennicott around the house to fix things. When she comes downstairs dressed for the party in close fitting silver colored dress and hair piled up, Kennicott is so impressed by her stately appearance that he pulls the chair for her at the dinner table and dares not ask her to pass the butter.

The aristocracy of Gopher Prairie invited to the party consists of professionals, people earning more than 25 thousand or with grand parents born in America. They all appreciate the décor-the furniture, the wall hanging, and even the cushions. But they tend to settle down to their old routine. Carol makes them dance. Even the elders like Ezra Stowbody, Dawson and George Edwin Mott enjoy dancing. Then the youngsters -the Haydocks and others dance and the older people settle down once again to the discussion of the same old topics. Carol then calls for some entertainment. But much to the disappointment of the guests, the usual stunts are not called for. Raymond Wutherspoon is asked to sing. He sings so badly that Carol feels ashamed and the guests give up all hopes of being entertained. Only Vida Sherwin appreciates Raymie's singing.

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