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Main Street, Sinclair Lewis Essay

1046 words - 4 pages

Carol Milford attends Blodgett College in Minneapolis and dreams about settling down in a prairie village and transforming it into a place of beauty. After graduation, she works as a librarian at St. Paul for three years. She meets Dr. Will Kennicott at a friend's house, and he begins courting her. After courting for a year, they marry and move to Kennicott's hometown of Gopher Prairie. Disappointed by her first impression of the Gopher Prairie, Carol finds the town to be ugly and the townspeople to be provincial. The townspeople gossip all the time and are completely uninterested in cultural or social issues. Mrs. Bogart, the Kennicotts' neighbor, proves to be a religious hypocrite who idly gossips about everyone. However, Bea Sorenson arrives in Gopher Prairie on the same day as Carol. Awestruck by the magnificence of the town, which is larger than any she town has ever seen, Bea decides to stay and becomes Carol's maid.Carol refurbishes Kennicott's old-fashioned house with modern furniture and makes elaborate preparations for a party, a party unlike any party the town has ever seen. However, Carol discovers that the dull townspeople do not like change. Furthermore, she feels disheartened to learn that the townspeople constantly watch her every move and criticize her for being different from them. They criticize the way she dresses and the way she acts. She finds few friends in Gopher Prairie, except for the lawyer, Guy Pollock, and the high school teacher, Vida Sherwin. Carol also becomes friends with her maid, Bea, and the town's handyman, Miles Bjornstam. While the townspeople treat Miles as an outcast because he supports socialism and the Democratic Party, Carol finds herself drawn to him.Carol tries to get the people to build a new city hall, school, and library, and a more comfortable rest room for the farmer's wives. However, no one shares her interest in constructing new buildings or helping the town's poor. Everyone tells her that they do not want to spend money on unnecessary things like buildings. Carol idealizes Guy Pollock, thinking that he shares her interest in reforming the town. However, she eventually finds out that he does not care for social reform and that he has settled down to enjoy small town life. As Guy explains to Carol, he has the "Village Virus."Carol joins the Jolly Seventeen, the women's social club, and the Thanatopsis Club, the women's study group. When she tries to change the unimaginative club programs, the other members ignore her suggestions. Along with a group of friends, Carol forms a drama group and stages a play, which turns out to be horribly mediocre. Appointed to the library board, she eagerly makes suggestions to how the library could encourage reading, but the local librarian opposes her suggestions, preferring to discourage readers in order to keep the books clean.Carol and Kennicott have a bitter argument in which he accuses her of feeling superior to everyone else in town. After they make up, she...

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