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MonkeyNotes-Main Street by Sinclair Lewis
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Chapter 24

Summary

Carol becomes more critical of Kennicott - especially after Bresnahan's visit. She finds that he does not bother to dress very well. She observes his mannerisms. She realizes that he is very boyish and that she has to manage him the way she manages Hugh. He is very homely and very dependable. Though the days are very hot they are unable to go to the lake cottage because the other doctors are away. The unbearable heat makes every one very touchy. She snaps at the clerk who tries to make suggestions. She feels vexed by Uncle Whittier's comments and does not laugh at Dave Dyers clownish tricks. She listens wearily to Sam's comments about her hat and Kennicott's story about the minister. She snaps at Kennicott when he wants to know the reason for Hugh's crying. She finds him dressed sloppily and his table manners to be very uncouth. He has not shaved for three days and his nails are ill shaped. She remembers the way he had tried to impress her during their courtship days.

He casually informs her that his friends were coming over to play poker and he would like her to get some snacks for them. Sam Clark, Dave Dyer, Jack Elder and Howland come to play. They do not include Carol even in their conversation. She fumes about being taken for granted. After they leave she tells Kennicott that his friends have manners more appropriate for the bar room. Kennicott protests that even Bresnahan considered them to be the best people. She retorts that she is sick of Bresnahan. Kennicott tells her that she feared that America would become militaristic. She mocks his patriotism because she had heard him discussing the ways to avoid paying the tax. Kennicott feels hurt that she should doubt his patriotism. He points out that he pays his tax willingly but he does not want to pay more than he has to. He calls her a neurotic. They fail to make up their quarrel. She decides to have a separate room and Kennicott says that it would not be a bad idea.


She clears a spare room and makes it comfortable with a cot, dressing table and a bookshelf. Kennicott feels unhappy about Carol's decision and Carol feels sad that she could forget. Kennicott, by just shutting the door. Aunt Bessie tells her that married people should sleep together. But Mrs. Westlake tells her that wives need their own space and Carol feels happy about her decision. Mrs. Westlake tells her that she told her husband that he was a romantic fool. Carol remarks that Kennicott is not romantic enough. She also tells Mrs. Westlake her opinion about Vida and Aunt Bessie.

Oscarina leaves the Kennicotts to go back to the farm. Maids come and go and Carol is forced to do most of the work most of the time. Carol has to endure the jibes of the members of the Jolly Seventeen. Aunt Bessie keeps instructing her on housework and Carol feels exhausted. She goes to the maid's room while cleaning the house. She finds it to be a disgrace. It is situated above the kitchen and is poorly ventilated. The heating is poor and the furnishing is very shabby. She feels ashamed that she permitted her friends Bea and Oscarina to live in such a hole. Kennicott asserts that it was much better than the houses they lived in, in their own farms.

Kennicott decides that they should build their new house. Carol is dismayed to learn that his dream house looked like Sam Clark's house. When she tries to make suggestions, he laughs at her. He invites Uncle Whittier's and Aunt Bessie's comments about Carol's suggestions. Annoyed Carol marches off to her room. She repents her rudeness and returns after a while. She watches Uncle Whittier cutting short Aunt Bessie to talk to Kennicott, apologizes and retreats to her bedroom. She fears that if Kennicott were to build the house according to his plan, her one last refuge, the dream of a beautiful house would be taken away from her.

She longs to get away for a holiday. But Kennicott is unable to because of his work. However, in the month of July he offers to take her along to Joralemon, a neighboring prairie town. He has some work with Dr. Calibre there and the Beavers were holding a convention along with a street fair there. They leave Hugh with Aunt Bessie and travel by a freight train. Carol enjoys the train ride. Joralemon turns out to be another Gopher Prairie and Dr. Calibre ignores her totally. Mrs. Calibre is not a very joyful company. She has to deny herself even a ride on the merry - go-round. They return home the same evening. Kennicott calls Joralemon an enterprising town and Carol calls it an ant-heap.

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MonkeyNotes-Main Street by Sinclair Lewis
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