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MonkeyNotes-Main Street by Sinclair Lewis
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Chapter 8

Summary

Carol decides to take more interest in Kennicott’s work. But her attempt to get Kennicott to tell her about his work draws a blank because he does not find anything interesting enough to tell. Vida calls on her after the showdown at the Jolly Seventeen. Carol feels uneasy. Vida tells her about how the people of Gopher Prairie watch the new comers closely. They have been watching and commenting about Carol too. Carol is indignant because it never occurred to her that she was being watched. Vida gives her an account of how they criticized her. Regarding her clothes, the opinion was that she was showing off. They thought that she talked in an affected manner because she said ‘American’ instead of ‘Ammurrican’ as they did.

Because they are serious about life, her idea of life as that of fun and joy is suspect. When she speaks to the librarian about encouraging the reading habit, Miss Villets feels that Carol is being very condescending. When Carol admired Mrs. Elder’s ‘pretty little car’ Mrs. Elder feels offended because she considered her car to be a big one. They disapprove of Carol’s friendliness with her maid Bea. Her way of decorating the house is considered to be odd. She is criticized for not going to the church.

Carol feels very upset because she likes them all very much and considers them to be her friends. Yet she wants to know what they thought about her party. She learns that they thought that she was pretending that her husband was richer than he really was and that she was starting a competition by giving such a grand party which many of them can not afford. They had criticized the food and also the pretty trousers that she had worn. Carol collapses on the couch and does not notice Vida’s departure. Feeling shamed and unhappy she wants to run to her father for comfort.


When Kennicott returns, she tries to find out from him what his friends thought of her. Kennicott reveals that Chet Dashaway was unhappy because she ordered the furniture from Minneapolis instead of buying it from him. He also tells her that she should buy the provision from Ludelmeyer or Jenson because they are his patients. When Carol clarifies that Howland and Gould are better and cleaner he argues that he earned money through them so they would like to earn through him. He assures her that Gopher Prairie is an independent town and they need not watch their step and bother about what people said. Yet he would like Carol to keep his interest in mind. Carol feels very unhappy.

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MonkeyNotes-Main Street by Sinclair Lewis
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