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Main Street by Sinclair Lewis

Main Street

by Sinclair Lewis

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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# 8 of 100 Classics Challenge
Main Street🍒🍒🍒🍒
By Sinclair Lewis
Signet Classic

Carol Milford(Kennicotts') role as a "progressive" is hard not to appreciate, in this 1920 story of Americana. This is a novel of social reform versus personal freedom and still relatable themes today.
Carol begins as a librarian in big city St Paul, Minnesota, when she meets Dr. Will Kennicott, and together they move to Gopher Prairie, Minnesota. Carol is stifled by the small town and dreams of building. Will is more traditional and insular and enjoys being the only physician in town. Carols struggles with her aspirations for change and growth.
Erik Valborg, Vida Sherwin and Carol were my favorite characters.
I loved this book....love Sinclair Lewis....
Recommended! ( )
  over.the.edge | Sep 16, 2018 |
In a word tedious. Sinclair Lewis wrote a satire about small time life. His writing is tedious as he shows what life is like in a small town when you surround yourself with like-minded people. No one wants to change. Everyone knows everything about everybody. No one wants to go out of his/her comfort zone. And his uses his writing to show that.

Carol marries Will, Gopher Prairie's doctor. She's used to a big city and tries to change things and is discounted and laughed at and gossiped about. She is a whiner and nothing and nobody does anything she likes. She has an active inner life but drove me crazy.

Will does not see Gopher Prairie as Carol does. He sees nothing wrong with the town or the people. He does take Carol to task at times. He is also willing to let her do what she wants even if it is leave but she still is not happy. They have a few blow-ups over her discontent.

My favorite character was Miles, the town handy man. He was real but also an outcast. I felt bad for him.

The place and time are written well. I am glad I did not live then or there. ( )
  Sheila1957 | Aug 22, 2018 |
981/1500 ( )
  Drfreddy94 | Jul 17, 2018 |
This is the satirical story of Carol Milford and her desire to transform her new husband's little town of Gopher Prairie. While Dr. Will Kennicott is the celebrated hometown physician Carol is the new girl; the sophisticated, educated, and stylish "city girl" (having been a librarian in the metropolis of St. Paul, Minnesota). Her hopes and dreams for the little community are often met with bemusement, confusion, and more than a little resentment. From every angle Carol's energy and enthusiasm to change things make the townspeople nervous resulting in stubborn denial. It isn't long before, with all of her reform attempts failed, Carol yearns for adventure and big city culture. Even becoming a mother is not enough to contain her. She wants to shake things up and does so by falling in love with a young tailor. While the community tongues wag, Carol grows more emboldened and daring, finally leaving Gopher Prairie.

In the beginning, I didn't really care for Carol Kennicott, nee Milford. Early on she was a snob through and through. While traveling to Kennicott's provincial little town she watches people on the train and is disappointed to see they are peasants. Previously, she didn't believe in American peasants. Now she is witness to poverty and in her dismay she calls the less fortunate, "stuck in the mud" (p 42). She hasn't even seen her husband's town but already she is utterly panicked by the thought of living "inescapably" in Gopher Prairie (p 50). It isn't until she removes herself from the wretched town that she learns what it means to belong somewhere. ( )
  SeriousGrace | Jun 4, 2018 |
"Main Street" is number 68 on the Modern Library list of 100 best novels, and with good reason. Sinclair Lewis paints an authentic picture of mid-western life in early 1900s America. The fictitious town of Gopher Prairie, Minnesota is modeled after his own home town, but as the reader soon discovers, Main Street could have taken place in practically any small town across the country.

"Main Street" tells the story of a young, attractive, intelligent, educated woman- Carol Milford. She has visions, goals, and splendid dreams of the future. The challenge is how to turn them into reality. Women were expected to marry, have children, do housework, and cater to their husbands. Oh sure, it was okey for them to join social groups and organize community committees, but anything that required voicing political opinions or discussing major social issues was strictly left to the men. Written in 1920, this novel must have created quite a sensation with it’s independent, radically thinking heroine.

Carol enters into marriage with Dr. Will Kennicott, agreeing to move from the city to his home town of Gopher Prairie. She is determined to find some meaningful work, or at least a worthy cause to which she will dedicate herself, and Will assures her the town can use some inspiration and new ideas. One never knows if Will loves Carol because of her radical ideas, or in spite of them, but the rest of the town folks don’t take too kindly to an outsider coming in and trying to enlighten them, and they don’t like her smug superiority. Carol is in for a rude awakening.

The book covers a lot of themes which are still relevant today: women’s rights, male chauvinism, socialism, unions, class distinction, the human nature of resistance to change, the small town mentality of narrow-minded opinions, hypocrisy, and the tendency to try to force everyone into a comfortable state of mediocrity.

"Main Street" illustrates that some things have morphed beyond recognition during the past 100 years, yet other things remain exactly the same.

Sinclair Lewis wrote "Main Street" early in his long prestigious career as an American author, later winning the Nobel Prize for his outstanding contribution to literature. ( )
  LadyLo | Mar 20, 2018 |
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Ninety years after publication, Sinclair Lewis’s Main Street still resonates with readers ... The book became an immediate sensation. Biographer Mark Schorer called its publication “the most sensational event in twentieth-century American publishing history.” ... Lewis found a way to appeal to both those who were nostalgic for small town America and those who were dissatisfied with it.

» Add other authors (27 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Lewis, Sinclairprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Schorer, MarkAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Chapter 1
On a hill by the Mississippi where Chippewas camped two generations ago, a girl stood in relief against the cornflower blue of Northern sky.
She had her freedom, and it was empty.
Not a matter of heroism. Matter of endurance...There's one attack you can make on it, perhaps the only kind that accomplishes anything anywhere; you can keep on looking at one thing after another in your home and church and bank, and ask why it is, and who first laid down the law that it had to be that way. If enough of us do this impolitely enough, then we'll become civilized in merely twenty thousand years or so, instead of having to wait the two hundred thousand years that my cynical anthropologist friends allow...easy, pleasant, lucrative home-work for wives: asking people to define their jobs. That's the most dangerous doctrine I know!
The tragedy of old age, which is not that it is less vigorous than youth, but that it is not needed by youth; that its love and prosy sageness, so important a few years ago, so gladly offered now, are rejected with laughter.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Main Street was written by Sinclair Lewis, not Upton Sinclair, so you might want to correct the author on your book page.  Thank you.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0451526821, Mass Market Paperback)

"Main Street" tells the tale of a big-city girl who marries a physician and settles in a small town in the Midwest, only to fall victim to the narrow-mindedness and unimaginative natures of the town's residents. Introduction by Thomas Mallon.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:21:45 -0400)

(see all 7 descriptions)

A young woman has difficulty adjusting to life in a small town in Minnesota.

» see all 19 descriptions

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