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MonkeyNotes-Main Street by Sinclair Lewis
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Notes

Carol's idea of beauty is revealed in this chapter. By knocking down the dividing wall between the front and back parlor she creates space. In discarding the old furniture she demonstrates how one can get rid of the dead past and move ahead. Her aesthetic sense is revealed in the color scheme, which pleases the eye. Kennicott himself admits that it is worth all the money spent on it.

Mrs. Bogart, the typical self-righteous, gossiping woman of the town is introduced in this chapter. She is a God fearing, church going Baptist. The portrayal of her character reveals the writer's effective use of satire. She is considered to be a good influence but her son works as a bartender. Her youngest son is the most 'brazen member' of the toughest gang in town. She is the 'depressingly hopeful kind' and resembles an indignant hen. She spies on people from her home and her visit to Carol's house is only to look at all the changes made by Carol and to criticize her. She takes Carol to task for not attending church, comments about her extravagance, looks disapprovingly at her well revealed ankles and departs with the remark that Kennicott appeared a little sick.

There is also a scene between Carol and her husband regarding money. Carol is practical enough to make a budget, and to decide to tell Kennicott to give her a regular allowance. She finds it below her dignity to be asking for money. Yet she is sensitive enough to understand Kennicott’s pleasure in 'giving largess'. So she is never able to bring herself to demand an allowance. The behavior of the other males-the German farmer and Dave Dyer- taking pleasure in making their wives beg for money in the presence of Company reeks of male chauvinism.


Carol's house warming party gives her a chance to reveal her ingenuity and sense of fun. It appears as if she is determined to demonstrate to the people of Gopher Prairie what is beauty and how parties could be changed into occasions of fun. But the author does not present her as a show off. She appears genuine in her love for beauty. After the redecoration she finds the house 'stirred and awakened’ and very welcoming. Kennicott also loves the change and feels proud of his wife's taste and capability.

Every one seems to enjoy the party. But there are hints throughout of their provincialism. Dave Dyer tries to find the price tag on the gold pillows. Even after the dance they settle down with crystallized smiles which meant "Don't believe I'll try this one myself". There are long gaps of silence followed by discussions of the same old topics, which provide evidence of their die-hard attachment to their idea of fun. Carol feels that they have lost the capacity to play or think independently. The author sarcastically points out that very soon the party resembled a prayer meeting.

Carol dares to change the unwritten party code by rejecting the usual 'stunts' and by requesting Raymie Wutherspoon to sing to enliven the party. Raymie's singing turns out to be a fiasco. Though the audience manages to listen in a cultured manner, Carol is sensitive enough to feel ashamed. During the game half the crowd takes advantage of the darkness to craftily sit close to the wall. The food served is once again daringly different from the standard menu. Yet the crowd convinces Carol that they enjoyed the meal. But later she learns that they meant just the opposite. Her child like attitude is revealed in her happiness about the success of the party and the way she sulks when Kennicott tells her not to cross her legs because her knees are revealed.

Carol feels pleased that she has initiated the people of Gopher Prairie into the idea of parties full of fun. But the very next week the town demonstrates to her that it was not ready to accept her upstart ideas by holding a party in the tradition of Gopher Prairie. Vida Sherwin brings the reactions of the individuals to the party to Carol’s notice much later.

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