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MonkeyNotes-Main Street by Sinclair Lewis
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Notes

The confrontation between Kennicott and Carol is described in this chapter. Carol is unable to see Erik, so she believes that she loves him. Her days are spent in longing to see him and in speculating about how to see him. This longing results in her reckless daring to go out with Erik risking possible discovery and degradation. But even when she is there with Erik she thinks about Hugh and about going back home.

Kennicott handles the situation in a cool and composed manner. He does not give Erik any chance to protest or fight. The fact that he knew about Carol's infatuation all along wins the battle for him. His cool, self-asserting composure robs Carol of all the fight in her. The vivid prediction of Carol's possible future with Erik completes his conquest. Carol admits that she does not love Erik enough to endure all the drudgery as a part of her life. She is very repentant and Kennicott seems to have wooed and won her for the second time.

Erik appears to be bold in going to Carol's house to ask her to go for a walk. But when Kennicott shows up in his car and asks him to get in, and talks to him about hunting, Erik remains quiet and never once tries to claim Carol's love. He leaves Carol with a handshake and goes away from her life, never to return. Kennicott is perhaps right in presuming that if he had not achieved anything in twenty-five years of his life, he would probably not do anything spectacular in the remaining years. Erik himself had admitted his fears that he may not be successful. He had even asserted that he was ready even to be a ditch digger if Carol would be with him. It is indeed surprising that Carol never stops to think about how life would be if her artist were to turn into ditch digger or a small town tailor. His one opportunity was to work in the flourmill of Lymn Cass and become his son-in- law. It is a pity that he sacrifices it for the love of Carol.


Kennicott's behavior in the whole episode is very mature and humanitarian. He does not insult Erik or Carol. He goes out of his way to be polite to Erik and magnanimously admits that 'he is not a bad sort'. He is practical in pointing out to Carol that it is in comparison with a Dr. McGanum or Lymn Cass that Carol found Erik to be very remarkable. He tells her that she might not even have noticed him had she met him in New York or some other big city. Instead of dramatizing the situation or moralizing, he simply points out to her how much he loved her. He is confident that Carol will not do anything wrong even when the whole town gossips about her. Such is the trust he displays that Carol admits for the first time that marriage weaves people together and it is not meant to be broken.

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