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Main Street | Study Guide

Sinclair Lewis

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Check out this Infographic to learn more about Sinclair Lewis's Main Street. Study visually with character maps, plot summaries, helpful context, and more.

Narrator, Preface ain Street is the climax of civilization. Sources:, Encyclopaedia Britannica, Copyright © 2018 Course Hero, Inc. Trains Symbolize a means of escape and a sign of defeat Village Virus Represents a state of apathy and surrender Main Street Symbolizes a small-town attitude and narrow-mindedness Symbols Handyman, radical, and proud liberal; strongly disliked by most of the townspeople Miles Bjornstam Intelligent but sexually repressed teacher; prefers to work within the system Vida Sherwin Dependable country doctor married to Carol; proud of his town and resistant to change Will Kennicott Bright, college-educated would-be reformer with dreams of improving the town Carol Kennicott Main Characters Born in Sauk Centre, Minnesota, Lewis had a love-hate relationship with small-town America. He lamented the fact that most people avoided literature that didn’t put America on a pedestal. Surprisingly it was Main Street, with its unforgiving portrait of rural towns, that brought him fame as an author. SINCLAIR LEWIS1885–1951 Author Immigrants, farmers, and those from big cities are viewed with suspicion. Distrust of Outsiders Religion and morality are often used to justify cruelty and indifference. The Many Faces of Hypocrisy Carol Kennicott and her progressive ideas are not welcome in Gopher Prairie. Resistance to Change The words “This is America” introduce Gopher Prairie, a small town in the Midwest that resembles small towns everywhere. Carol Kennicott, newly arrived, dreams of making the town beautiful. But she is unprepared for the smugly satisfied townspeople who resist her every effort. Is This America? THEMES English Original Language 1920 Year Published Sinclair Lewis Author Main Street Satire Novel

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