Main Street | Study Guide

Sinclair Lewis

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Course Hero, "Main Street Study Guide," November 29, 2017, accessed August 15, 2018, https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Main-Street/.

Main Street | Chapter 9 | Summary

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Summary

Carol continues to agonize over her discovery that people are gossiping behind her back. She begins avoiding some of the shops where she feels uncomfortable, preferring that of Axel Egge, an immigrant. Even some of the young teenage boys are talking about her, repeating what their parents have said, and making their own observations about her clothes and looks. In her discomfort, Carol tries to be more appreciative of her husband but finds herself wondering if marrying him was a horrible mistake.

Vida tries to reassure Carol with a number of compliments that she has been collecting about her friend from the Gopher Prairie residents. Carol's real comfort, though, comes from her housekeeper, Bea, who likes and admires her. Then Kennicott is called away to attend a patient, and Carol feels completely alone. She still fears the Jolly Seventeen, and hesitates to go back to them.

Analysis

Carol's confidence in herself has almost completely vanished. She has changed from an ambitious woman on a mission, to an insecure young girl almost paralyzed by fear of what others think. It is significant that the only people with whom she feels comfortable are the immigrant shopkeeper—whose own outsider status means she needn't be concerned about his opinion of her—and Bea, in whose eyes Carol can see herself reflected as she wants to be. Even Vida is of little comfort, because Vida knows of Carol's "secret shame." A bit impatient, Vida says Carol is brooding and that the town's criticism of her is over. Carol doesn't quite believe her, though, and she sits alone in her house, rather than face the Jolly Seventeen.

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