Main Street | Study Guide

Sinclair Lewis

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Main Street | Chapter 5 | Summary



Carol begins to settle in to Gopher Prairie. She goes on regular hunting trips with Kennicott, wanting to be part of his world, and actually takes pleasure in the beauty of the country. A stop at a local farm, however, triggers Carol's social consciousness. She begins to argue that the town-dwellers look down on the farmers but stops when Kennicott becomes uncomfortable.

Carol focuses on her home, instead. She hires Bea Sorenson, with whom she develops a warm relationship, and takes joy in decorating her house. She even finds pleasure in the daily banter with the shopkeepers. Then she meets Miss Vida Sherwin, an energetic high school teacher who seems to share Carol's desire for change. Vida's suggestions for Carol, though, seem limited to having her become a "Good Influence" by teaching Sunday school, and joining something called the Thanatopsis Club. Vida then introduces Carol to Guy Pollock, a lawyer in whom Carol discovers "a personality." He is intelligent and very well read. In fact, Carol wonders why he is still in Gopher Prairie.


In Chapter 5, Carol begins to develop a more balanced view of Gopher Prairie. Her positive attitude is further buoyed by meeting Vida and Guy. But she is so eager to find people who are her intellectual equals that she seems to ignore the fact that Vida is set on maintaining American ideals, including wholesomeness and the sacredness of home and children. Vida says she does not believe in religious dogma, but obviously she does, assuming Carol shares her devotion to the fatherhood of God, the brotherhood of man, and the leadership of Jesus. She also celebrates the achievements of the Thanatopsis Club (a name that translates to "a meditation death," apparently chosen because it sounded impressive), but those seem limited to planting trees, and running a rest room for farmer's wives.

Guy, at this point, is a mystery. He is described as deferential, and makes no enthusiastic comments about Gopher Prairie. But he is intelligent and kind, and he piques Carol's interest.

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