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MonkeyNotes-Main Street by Sinclair Lewis
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Notes

This chapter is an analysis of a wife's psychology. Bresnahan's visit sharpens Carol's perception of Kennicott because she can compare him with Bresnahan. She notices that his clothes are not pressed, his cuffs are frayed and he wore a hard derby hat. She is easily annoyed, feels weary of the ever-repeated jokes and sentiments of the town. She feels oppressed by the heat and by the lack of good servants. She feels hurt because Kennicott did not inform her beforehand that his friends were to come for a game of poker. She broods over the fact that she is not even included in the conversation. She unhappily remembers that Kennicott's taste in food was very conservative so that she has to cook nothing but steak, roast beef, boiled pig's-feet, oatmeal and baked apples.

She compares herself to Kennicott's weather beaten hunting coat. She realizes that she knows her kitchen vessels better than she knows Vida or Guy Pollock. She feels that the tin opener is more relevant to her than the Cathedrals of Europe and the most important question was about which knife was better for 'cutting up cold chicken'. When they quarrel they become mean and accuse one another and even fail to make up the quarrel. They do not seem to even make an attempt to understand each other. Kennicott attributes Carol's attitude to the 'fool novels...and the highbrow junk' she keeps reading and calls her a neurotic. Carol calls him stupid.

Kennicott and even Guy Pollock have warned Carol to be careful with Mrs. Westlake. Yet Carol is stupid enough to trust her and to confess her innermost thoughts to her. When she does all the housework, she is able to understand why the workmen never feel grateful towards their kind employers. Though Carol rebels against her husband and Uncle Whittier laughing at her, she has courtesy enough to return and talk to them. When she understands Kennicott's idea of a new house, she refuses to show any interest in the house because she wants to preserve her dream. She gets tired of the topics discussed by her husband and Dr. Calibre. She sulks when no one shows any interest to have a ride on the merry-go-round. Her disappointment in the Joralemon trip appears a little childish. She seems to expect to be indulged and entertained all the time.


Kennicott is presented in a slightly unfavorable light. He does not bother about his clothes or about his table manners. He chases fragments of fish round the plate and licks the knife after gobbling the fish. He seems to be stingy when he refuses to discard the shirt with the frayed cuffs. He never stops mourning the loss of the plate that Bea broke. He does not stop the Smails from laughing at Carol. However, he is able to understand Carol's need for space and lets her have her own room even if he is unhappy about it.

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