Main Street Research Paper Main StreetSinclair Essay

Main Street Essay, Research Paper

Main Street

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Sinclair Lewis was a fagot male child, ever an foreigner, lonely. Once he had

become celebrated, he began to proclaim an official position of his young person that

represents possibly an grownup want for a unoffending life that ne’er was. He was

Sinclair Lewis ( Hutchisson 8 ) . In the old ages from 1914 to 1951 Sinclair Lewis, a

royal poinciana, driven, self-devouring mastermind from Sauk Centre, Minnesota, aspired

in twenty two novels to do all America his state. ( Hutchisson 9 ) . Although

his star has now waned, he was in his clip the best-known and the most

controversial of all authors and through a figure of books singular for their

satiric bite and for their ambivalent love and hate of the land and the people he

took as his sphere, he helped to do Americans known to themselves and to

the universe. Lewis was a descendent of the line of Cooper, Emerson, Thoreau,

Whitman and Twain ( Mencken 17 ) . Like them, he railed against the insidious

effects of mass civilization and the standardisation of manners and thoughts. Lewis

dreamed of a better America and in his best novels he turned the visible radiation of his

critical regard upon our most sacred establishments including the little town. He

became the first American author to win the Nobel Prize for Literature for his

plants on American life ( Mencken 19 ) .

Many of Lewis? s books had relevancy to his life turning up. He grew up in

a little town with all the little town qualities and wrote largely satirically about

them. One of many books that satirize little towns is Main Street. In this novel,

many subjects are presented such as the usage of sarcasm as an impulse to reform, household

life of the period as portrayed in the novel, and World War I and its impact on the

chief streets of America. During the period Lewis wrote the novel, World War I

sparked in Europe. During this clip the United States was pushed into the war

and many soldiers were needed and drafted by the United States military. This

clip affected many immature male childs and many households. It besides brought on a new

feeling of patriotism and nationalism non merely in the large metropoliss, but besides in the little

towns. Some of these features were satirized by Sinclair Lewis in this

book. Much of what goes on during Sinclair Lewis? s life goes into his books

including his matrimonies, of import day of the months, and early life. Small towns grew

legion across the state because during this period many immigrants

traveled west. Small towns are much different than large metropoliss because they have

different values, ends, and ethical motives. Main Street by Sinclair Lewis satirizes the

little town lives and values of Americans through the idealistic position of Carl


Carol Kennicott? s position of Gopher Prairie, the little town, is skewed

because of her yesteryear and her colored manner of looking at it. Much has been written

and said about Carol. She is Lewis himself in feminine pretense, as he admitted in

1922: ? & # 8230 ; [ She is ] ever fumbling for something she isn? T capable of obtaining,

ever dissatisfied & # 8230 ; intolerants of her milieus, yet missing any clearly

defined vision of what she wants to make or be? ( Schorer 273 ) . Carol Kennicott is

more advanced and rational than any of the people in the town. She

alumnuss from Blodgett College, a spiritual establishment, which protects its

pupils? from the evil of the universities? and censors them from

whatever they do non desire them to larn ( 2 ) . Carol? s foremost run intoing with the

townsfolk is a different experience for her. Because of her intelligence and

edification, she brings up subjects such as labour brotherhoods and profit-sharing ( 42 ) .

The townspeople react otherwise as one of the conversationist says, ? All this

net income sharing and public assistance work and insurance and old-age pension is merely

stuff? ( 43 ) . She is interested in sociology and wants to take part in

small town betterment. ( 3 ) . ? She did non yet know the huge ability of the universe

to be casually barbarous and proudly dull, but if she should of all time larn those depressing

powers, her eyes would ne’er go sullen or heavy or rheumily amative? ( 2 ) .

This quotation mark demostrates how Carol is put into a bad state of affairs because of her

milieus and how she has to alter the town if she wants to be fulfilled


Furthermore, Carol besides wants alteration and she wants to be the one who

makes it in Gopher Prairie where she lives. She goes at that place and wants to do it

reasonably and modern without cognizing much about it herself ( Dooley 63 ) . She thinks

that because of her instruction, she has to do alteration and make something to

carry through her life. Using the town as a agency to make this, is a manner that Carol does it.

She besides says no to a matrimony proposal because she wants to be free from the

ironss of matrimony ( 24 ) . Will Kennicott is received with unfastened weaponries because he

offers her a opportunity to do that alteration by shacking in a little town with him.

Equally of import is that Carol is an orphan since the age of 13. Her

childhood is the clip period when she learns to be independent which makes her

free. Bing given excessively much freedom is non ever a good thing for a immature

individual: ? & # 8230 ; she is unprompted, undiplomatic, and ignorant of complications? ( Dooley

62 ) . Because of Carol? s early life and her instruction, she has a skewed manner of

looking at the town and how she wants to alter it. Although she wants to

alter the little town, she does non recognize the feature of a little town.

Consequently, there are different ethical motives, values, and manners in a little

town. Small towns tend to dish the dirt more than regular towns and knock others

who do non belong in that town. For illustration, Carol overhears her neighbours Cy

Bogart and Earl Haydock, teenage delinquents, say, ? & # 8230 ; Ma says she? s stuck-up

as snake pit. Ma? s ever speaking about her? ( 92 ) . Earl besides adds, ? They? re all

express joying up their arms at her? ( 93 ) . Carol comes to a realisation that people

have been knocking her alternatively of look up toing her. This realisation is a immense blow

to Carol because she believes her purposes and actions have been

misinterpreted. She needs to be more involved and fit in better with the people of

the town and seek to understand them so she is non be every bit lonely as she is. This

alteration would besides assist her regain her assurance.

In consequence, Carol joins the Jolly Seventeen which is for immature married

adult females and is the societal position of Gopher Prairie ( 76 ) . They have a meeting to

do Carol a member and start to play games. The topic of amahs comes up

and they talk about how they get paid excessively much and are? & # 8230 ; thankless, all that

category of people? ( 78 ) . Carol puts herself into the conversation by demoing regard

for her amah, but the other adult females are offended and assail Carol by inquiring Carol,

? Don? T you think it? s hard on the remainder of us when you pay so much? ( 78 ) . All of the

adult females verbally attack a new member of the nine and onslaught her positions because

she does non conform to them. Subsequently that twenty-four hours, she gets into another statement

because the librarian believes the intent of a library is to continue books ( 80 ) .

The bibliothec does non even listen to her and pushes her off to the side. Then

subsequently Carol decides to fall in the adult females? s survey nine, Thanatopsis. She is voted

into rank and makes a few suggestions about future plans. This clip

Carol brings up the issue of charity for the hapless of the community. Once once more

Carol is ganged up on by all the adult females. Carol suggests that the adult females sew

apparels for the hapless, but Mrs. Stowbody, snaps, ? Celestial spheres and Earth, they have

more clip than we make? ( 126 ) . After that Carol suggests that the Bible should non

be the lone book that is read and? everybody cleared their polite pharynx? ( 127 ) .

They merely ignored her remark and kept traveling on with the meeting as if non

admiting Carol. Carol is determined to be involved in the town and do a

alteration in it.

As a consequence of Carol? s desire to do alteration, she creates the Gopher

Prairie Dramatic Association. The first of many jobs that occur is merely seven

come out of the 15 in the association? s foremost and most of import meeting

( 186 ) . As Carol made suggestions to what sort of drama would be put on, Ella

Stowbody along with others did non listen and sat back because they believed

their thoughts were better than Carols ( 186 ) . Carol had bought many things

including the lighting equipment, pigment and wood, and furniture yet no 1 else

took the drama earnestly. As Carol says, ? They gaily c

ame in half an hr tardily? and

made up alibis such as? Dave wants me to sit in a fire hook game? or? & # 8230 ; afraid the

moistness might get down my odontalgia? ( 186 ) . Many did non even bother to name and

do up an alibi. Their discourtesy and atrocious promptness was caused by the

histrions and actresses non liking Carol and her non-conformity. The drama turned out

to be a floating-point operation and the towns chitchat and talk started to trouble oneself Carol. She was non

the lone individual affected by the towns manners and ethical motives.

As a consequence of Miles Bjornstam? s married woman and boy being killed by imbibing

contaminated H2O, Miles was the lone 1 left to fault because he did non

supply the household with clean H2O ( 280 ) . The town demoralized him by demoing

small understanding for Miles. As he moved off to Canada, ? There was talk of

collaring him, of siting him on a rail? and they called him a? & # 8230 ; blasphemer and a

treasonist? ( 285 ) . During a clip of demand for MIles, the little town perceptual experience is to

fault person to cover with a decease. These sorts of ethical motives expressed by the

town are all throughout the novel and their manners are non similar with what large

metropolis folks perceive as good manners.

At a party served by Carol, the cats ask for nutrient. When they are served

they do non even acknowledge her and she says, ? Your friends have the manners

of a saloon? ( Lewis 260 ) . This absolutely illustrates and summarizes how the

people in little towns chitchat, stereotype, and do non accept anything that is non

harmonizing to their ain regulations and criterions. This leads to Gopher Prairie holding

job within their ain society.

In fact, there are many different state of affairss that occur in little towns that

would non happen in other topographic points. For illustration in the first party, the work forces and

adult females divide and speak of different issues ( 42 ) . This illustration shows how the

adult females and work forces are different in what they talk about because of their conformance.

Carol wants to cognize what the work forces talk approximately, as the other adult females? & # 8230 ; talk of

kids, illness, and cooks & # 8230 ; ? ( 41 ) . She is an castaway because she is bored

by irrelevant and uncomplex conversations. During this clip, Carol brings up

advanced subject and is shocked at the work forces and adult females because they are non

used to such subjects being brought up. Subsequently that dark Will Kennicott Tells Carol

that she has to be? & # 8230 ; more careful about flooring common people? ( 45 ) . He turns out to be

merely like the townsfolk that live in Gopher Prairie because he wants his married woman to

conform to the ways of a town party. Carol does non accept this conformance and

decides to hold her ain party. She wants her party to glow and be excessive.

? I? ll make? em lively, if nil else. I? ll make? em halt sing parties as

committee-meetings? ( 64 ) . She manages an antique square dance, a solo

by Raymie Wutherspoon, and a bare-knuckle game affecting wolves and

shepherds, the invitees? places being sheep. The expansive flood tide of the eventide is

the paper Chinese masquerade costumes for a Chinese concert, with taboret

and combs for membranophones and fifes. This party is a large alteration for the townsfolk

and they have fun and bask it, but the undermentioned hebdomad a party is held where the

group reverts to stunts and dull conversation one time once more. Carol tries to alter

the societal conditions of the town, but her attempts give in to conformance. ? Her

efforts to excite some merriment are met with embarrassment and ridicule, and

killed by an firm penchant for things as usual? ( Grebstein 65 ) .

After Carol realizes that people have been knocking alternatively of look up toing

her, she becomes lonely and goes back to the Jolly Seventeen nine as a consequence.

Her yearning for company has forced her to do grants and to be

more diplomatic. ? She had no sentiments on anything more polemic than woollen

unio-suits & # 8230 ; ? ( 108 ) . Because she is lonely and has no topographic point to turn, she is forced

to travel against her ain ethical motives and be a conformist because of the societal

conditions of Gopher Prairie. Of class the other adult females like this alteration in

Carol as one of the member says, ? Isn? T dude that your have settled down to

being homey with us? ( 109 ) . The people in the nine do the same things every

run intoing with no alterations. Through the humdrum, Lewis satirizes the manner people

of little towns do non like alteration and do non desire alteration.

Consequently, many of the societal assemblages and the town itself is

humdrum and drab. ? It is a depriving off of all pretenses to educate life

which leaves chief street a bare symbol of obtuseness, conventionality and asepsis?

( Dooley 67 ) . Put merely, the parties are unpretentious, boring, and sedated.

They do non offer anything different and ever are the same. Carol tries to

alteration that but all her attempts are ineffectual. In the winter Carol tries to form

skating and skiing parties with no success. Everyone merely wants to conform

( 76-77 ) . When Carol? s programs to seek something new and different are shut down by

the town, she realizes she has nil to make. This fact farther fusss Carol

because she is a adult females with a working encephalon and no work. She is bored of life

and what the town has to offer.

The 2nd twenty-four hours of the Kennicott? s life in Gopher Prairie is spent by runing

prairie poulets and squirrels because there is nil else to make ( 47-50 ) . ? With

her we discover the small town void, ? a negative thing ; an rational sordidness ;

a swamp of biass and frights? ? ( Dooley 62 ) . Small towns are non merely dull,

but they are besides infested with wonder. Such a society produces inexpensive

cars, dollar tickers and safety razors, and? little bargains work forces? of? the hard currency

registry and the amusing movie? ( Lewis 238 ) . ? Always, west of Pittsburgh and frequently

E of it, there is the same lumber pace, the same railway station, the same Ford

garage, and the same creamery, the same box-like houses and two-story stores?

( Lewis 239 ) . Lewis is satirising non merely wholly towns, but specifically Gopher Prairie

for its monotounous and boringness. This characteristic is caused by the tradition

and the fixture of little towns, specifically Gopher Prairie.

In many instances of little towns, Gopher Prairie is controlled by establishments.

First of all the Thanatopsis nine which is comprised of the towns most

distinguished adult females is one of the topographic points where Carol turns to better the town

( Grebstein 66 ) . This survey nine disposes of many writers because facts about

their life were considered and non their poesy itself. The adult females censor

themselves and other from reading writers that might impact the town ( 125 ) .

Carol decides that she wants to fall in the other nine called the Jolly Seventeen

which is a middle-class nine for younger married adult females. They play span and

are offended by any new thoughts or differing sentiments brought up by Carol ( 76-80 )

She decides that she wants to go forth this nine besides so she takes affairs into her

ain custodies by doing her ain nine to set on dramas. She takes members in to move

in a drama, but of the 15 that are interested, merely a few of them are really on

clip for dry runs and attention about that drama. The drama ends up to be atrocious and

no 1 seems to bask it ( 186 ) . Then she tries to travel to City Hall and expression for

ways to alter and reform the town. She suggests an betterment undertaking, but

she is confronted with people without any desire for betterment ( 113-116 ) .

Every organisation that Carol turns to does non appeal to her ideals because none

want alteration. She is the lone 1 in the town who believes alteration is good and

can hold benefits.

In add-on, Will Kennicott besides fits in with the town because of his

conformance and desire to remain the same. Because of this, Carol and Will are set

on a hit class. Carol? s struggle with the town has a counterpoint in another

struggle affecting her hubby ( Grebstein 67 ) . She finally separates from

Will, but learns that there are worse towns. On her return to Gopher Prairie,

Carol finds the town someway easier to accept. She participates in a figure of

concrete reforms and is herself eventually accepted by the town.

Carol feels that she may non hold won the conflict against averageness but

that she has at least unbroken combat ( Maglin 112 ) . The long, episodic, and about

plotless narrative of Carol Kennicott and her battles with Gopher Prairie eventually ends

without work outing many of her jobs, but through the novel, Lewis satirizes the

lives of little town people and their battle to conform and non allow anyone alteration

their ethical motives or values.


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