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MonkeyNotes-Main Street by Sinclair Lewis
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Chapter 12

Summary

Carol takes a walk along the railroad track up to the lake and the Prairie beyond to enjoy the beauty of the spring. As she trudges along a man in a Ford car offers a lift. Carol feels the warmth of companionship in that offer which she never finds in any of her acquaintances in Gopher Prairie. She comes across Bjornstam in gypsy encampment. He offers her a hunk of bacon. He is on his way to the annual horse-trading. He buys horses from the farmers and sells them to others and claims that he makes some honest profit. He invites her to join him and she says there would be a scandal if she did.

It is pleasant in the month of June and Carol goes along with Kennicott on his visits. She finds the July heat stifling. They find it impossible to sleep. On cool evenings the gnats plague them when they go for a walk. The Thanatopsis club starts its anti-fly campaign. Carol distributes flytraps and gives money to the fly swatting children. But the heat drains all her energy for social work. They visit Kennicott’s mother for a week. They purchase a summer cottage. The whole social circle of the Kennicotts has cottages and Carol enjoys the outdoor life. They make picnic suppers and also have dances. But with the arrival of September they move back to their town homes and life goes back to the usual routine.


Carol invites Vida and Guy Pollock for the party on her first wedding anniversary. The conversation does not go beyond the discussion of Raymie Wutherspoon’s dreams. Carol finds Guy Pollock to be the perfect gentleman and he talks to her with ease about any topic that is interesting. But he does not call on the Kennicotts again. Her meeting Champ Perry makes her think of the pioneering days of the American Middlewest and desires to know more about it. From the records she learns about the hardships they had faced. She reads about the grasshoppers that destroyed the crops and their gardens and about the rattlesnakes they had to kill. Carol feels that for the hardships, life was more buoyant in those days. She also feels that if Gopher Prairie could go back to those pioneer days, she would be able to like it better.

Carol calls on the Perrys much to their delight. The Perrys had lost their money and were compelled to live in a flat. They feel sorry that they have to entertain Carol in their cramped flat. They feel thrilled to know that Carol wants their suggestions as to how Gopher Prairie can be taken to its pioneering days. According to them, the Baptist church is the standard in music, oratory, philanthropy and ethics. They do not need science and socialism. To earn more than ten thousand a year or less than eight hundred is wicked. They consider the Europeans to be wickeder. People do not need wine or ice cream. They should work as hard as Champ Perry did when he was young. Carol who had come with enthusiasm to listen to their ideas ends up with a headache. On her way back she meets Bjornstam who is back from the horse- trading trip.

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MonkeyNotes-Main Street by Sinclair Lewis
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