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Main Street (Signet Classics) Mass Market Paperback – June 3, 2008
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We all know the story: Carol Kennicott (nee Milford), educated at tiny Blodgett College, wants action: She wants to travel and live in a big city where she can see plays and hobnob with intellectuals. She meets future husband Dr. Will Kennicott at a St. Paul dinner party; (Throughout the novel, her feelings toward Will oscillate between admiration for his efficient practice and good nature, and discomfort with his depthless character). Will coaxes Carol onto a train bound for the hamlet of Gopher Prairie, Minnesota. The bulk of the novel, which, considering the context, could be considered picaresque, consists of Carol's haphazard attempts to reform the obdurate, immobile mindsets of the citizens of her new home. Among the improvements Carol suggests are a library board composed of the well read men of the town, and a campaign to renew interest in reading (In a town where the great books are bypassed for the contemporary moralistic, optimistic, and religious authors), and a theater company containing one fine actor and a supporting cast of hams, who bungle through one play (the frivolous "Girl from Kankakee"; poor carol had Shaw or Sophocles in mind.Read more ›
Carol Kennicott moves to fictional 'Gopher Prairie' in hopes of changing the town to a place of great city-sophistication that she can revel in. Her mind is set on changing the townsfolk and its inhabitants ways which she finds aloof and backward. Without giving away too much of the plot (which others I am sure here have already discussed), she runs into townsfolk who share her idea, and many who are suspicious of her motives.
What Lewis shows in great passage and scenery (you can literally touch and feel every blade of prairie grass he describes) is that even though Carol's ambitions seem great, (particularly when confronting all the clique like prejudices that pervade the small town), her methods come off as pretty high-falouting and preposterous based on a great deal of misunderstanding. Nobody in the novel has the right method on how people should live, but somehow everyone manages to live within their own personal bubble. You want to cheer Carol on (or wait hoping she will fall on her face if you feel that way), but you at least understand and realize the mindset that plagues people who want to come in to your life-home-family-town can be an almost impossible barrier.Read more ›
Carol's is a familiar life story: woman leaves big city to follow man she loves to a place she is in no way suited to, and ends up feeling trapped among people she despises. She tries to change the town, she tries to change herself, and when all else fails she tries to have an affair. When none of these tactics produce the desired results, Carol finally leaves Gopher Prairie, small child in tow. Unlike most women--and only because Will Kennicott is an exceedingly kind, loving man who doesn't go ballistic over her leaving--Carol eventually returns, but not until she's learned more about the world and herself, enabling her to live in Gopher Prairie impervious to the tyranny of Main Street.
The picture Lewis portrays of Midwesterners isn't pretty--in fact, it's downright misanthropic. These are myopic people who walk through their lives half asleep, frightened of anything new, whether it's a triviality like a brightly colored dress, or "communism" in the form of a workers' union. The writing is rich and detailed: each character springs from the page to life, with personalities revealed by the tiniest of mannerisms. The way they talk to one another, the jokes they tell, the things they consider important (primarily money and appearances) come through in each sentence and paragraph.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
It is Sinclair Lewis. How bad could it be? Old school author with a great vocabulary making it somewhat difficult to read. Read morePublished 16 days ago by Robert Naquin
To enjoy this old classic you have to like history. It's slow paced as all the old novels are and the place of women in the social structure is certainly different by today's... Read morePublished 1 month ago by R. Crabtree
A first impression of the books use of many three syllable words, some of which must be googled to understand, is that this is not a dime store type novel. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Alfred Wellnitz
I grew up 37 miles from the imagined town of Gopher Prairie. In fact I was born in Parkers Prairie, Minnesota. Read morePublished 7 months ago by William K. Solberg