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MonkeyNotes-Main Street by Sinclair Lewis
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Notes

Carol is full of admiration for Kennicott’s devotion to his profession. The fact that he is ready to sacrifice his sleep and face the cold weather to save a patient even if they summon him in the last minute explains to her why he holds the other doctors in such contempt. She happily reflects that Guy Pollock will never understand the skill and the endurance that her husband possesses.

Dr. Kennicott’s professionalism is described in great detail. Not only is he a good doctor but he is also a humanitarian. He understands the farmer’s problems. Though he has his ambitions, he does not hanker after his fees. The letter from the German farmer bears testimony of the doctor’s ability and devotion. The letter also proves Kennicott’s ability as a doctor and also shows her how approachable he is even to the poorer sections of the society. Carol gets a new insight into Kennicott’s professionalism. She accompanies him on his visits, and gets a chance to watch him treat his patients. She even gets the chance to watch him perform an operation and plays the anesthetist. She loves such activities.


When she meets Guy Pollock at the drug store, she happily tells him that her husband is one of the people who will quietly go about doing their work while they both can only be ‘hypocritical loafers’. She accepts Kennicott’s view that marriage needs to have wholesome frankness and that reticence can only be irritating. She even tolerates Kennicott sitting in the living room in his socks. Yet she believes in the romance of surprises and games to make each day different.

Her surprise visit to Kennicott’s office gives her the chance to see that, when she went around planning to improve the whole town, she never even thought about doing anything for Kennicott’s waiting room. When she adds a touch of beauty to the room and is appreciated she feels delighted and content enough with life as a doctor’s wife.

Carol tries to be Kennicott’s public relations officer. She turns on her charms on Lymn Cass and even on Mrs. Bogart. Her visit to Bogart is an eye opener. She realizes that Mrs.Bogart looked down on every one and considered herself to be morally superior. She draws parallels between herself and Mrs. Bogart. Bogart wanted to reform the town even as she herself wanted to change it. She finds the comparison to be awful.

Carol enjoys the trip to Nel Endstrom’s farm. She discovers that Kennicott feels at ease with children. She feels that more than building a beautiful town she would like to make children laugh. When she watches Kennicott operate she feels that his common, incorrect German is the language of life and death. She sniggers at herself for reading German and French sentimentalist novelists and imagining that only she had culture. Her experience with blizzards had been till then pleasant, because she was indoors watching the snow and having her father stay at home. So when she watches Kennicott handling the situation skillfully, her respect for him multiplies tremendously.

The writer also effectively portrays the characteristics of Carol. She is very reasonable at the same time she revels in indulging in self-pity. When she waits for Kennicott at his office she indulges in it because he did not guess the reason of her presence there. She takes pleasure in believing that she is a martyr. Yet her mood changes very quickly. This is a weakness in a diehard reformer.

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