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MonkeyNotes-Main Street by Sinclair Lewis
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Chapter 13

Summary

Carol goes to Perry’s house to pay a courtesy call. Not finding them at home she chances upon Guy Pollock’s office. He invites her in. Carol hesitates remembering the way people gossip. Yet she goes in and finds that his office serves as the living quarters too. It is meagerly furnished. Guy is surprised that Carol should call on the Perrys. Carol informs him that she wanted Perry’s ideas as to how Gopher Prairie could be changed. This leads to a discussion of what is wrong with Gopher Prairie. Much to Carol’s disappointment Guy Pollock does not find anything wrong with it. He feels that the people of Gopher Prairie are as suspicious and righteous, as the people living in any other small town. In his opinion the people of Gopher Prairie are in fact friendlier than the people of many other small towns.

He tells Carol about how he was brought up in a similar small town in Ohio, which was more hostile than Gopher Prairie. He completed his education disliking the crowded, expensive New York. When he heard that Julius Flickerbaugh, the lawyer of Gopher Prairie needed a partner he came and settled down in the town ever since. He also reveals that once upon a time he had resolved to read Browning and go to the theaters at Minneapolis. But actually he had settled down to read only cheap fiction and going to Minneapolis only when his work demanded it.


He also reveals how lonely and miserable he is. But Carol is interested only in getting his suggestions to change the town. He states that the troubles in Gopher Prairie are all manmade. Since they have conquered nature by growing wheat in the prairie and by keeping warm in the midst of a blizzard, people have to find their miseries in religious intolerance and professional hatred. He hints that even the wives share their husbands’ jealousies and interests. Carol remembers Kennicott’s suggestions about being nice to Mrs. Bogart so that she would put in a nice word for him. Guy Pollock tells her to talk to him instead of allowing him to bore her. Carol remarks that the people are so savorless that there is nothing to talk about. She tells him that she is trying to develop the ability to be dull and settle down to be nothing. Guy Pollock requests her not to be so cynical. He asks her to stay and have coffee. She points out that people would gossip if she did. Guy Pollock invites Dr. Dillon-the dentist and his wife so that people will not gossip about them. The Dillons arrive, they have coffee and make polite conversation and Carol leaves for home.

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