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MonkeyNotes-Main Street by Sinclair Lewis
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Notes

Carol feels rustic and dated in front of the high society kids of Washington. She desires to retreat "from these hard brilliant children to a life easier and more sympathetic". She appears to have caught the 'village virus' after all. Bresnahan's prediction that in a big city Carol would lose all the fun of thinking that she is 'a lone genius' seems to have come true. Her joy in seeing the Haydocks confirms her longing for Gopher Prairie. She remembers the sights and sounds of the town. She muses that nobody cared to fret about her sins in Washington, as Sam did in Gopher Prairie.

She sees Bresnahan but does not care to meet him. She sees Erik in the role of a minor character in a movie. Kennicott's prediction about Erik has come true. These two characters are not mentioned again in the story.

Kennicott's visit to Carol is a significant episode in Carol's Washington life. She is not sure if she wants to see him. So she feels happy that he decided to come. Kennicott calls it his second courting. He takes care to impress Carol by turning up smartly dressed. He uses the same tactics he used the first time. He shows photographs of Gopher Prairie, which takes Carol's memories back to the town. He is smart in avoiding persuasion, requests or suggestions. He does not grumble about having to stay in a hotel. But when he washes the dishes, Carol's sarcasm returns. However Kennicott wins her back by talking about his student days and genuinely regretting his failure to cultivate an ear for music and develop his taste for fine arts. She states, 'you are intelligent... you are the most thorough doctor...' Thus Kennicott uses psychology to woo Carol.

Slowly Carol's icy resolution thaws and she asks Kennicott to decide for her if she should return to Gopher Prairie. He uses psychology once again. He tells her that he does not want her to come back to him. When she is startled by this statement, he drives home the point that she has to come back willingly. Carol is still undecided.


The leader of the suffrage movement gives her the insight that she lacks. A reformer has to learn to conquer the self. She points out; 'the conqueror must beyond all things not conquer!' The most disgraceful thing for a reformer is 'obvious success'. She also cautions Carol that the reformer should give up all individualism to serve the ungrateful proletariat. This advice appears to be full of contradictions. But Carol understands the essence of her advice. She learns to be impersonal. She has the satisfaction that she was right in asking so many questions. She now understands that she should have the endurance to go on asking uncomfortable questions, even in the face of stiff opposition. She learns that even if she were to be snubbed she is not to take it as a personal defeat. From being a touchy young woman who gives up easily she is transformed into a mature lady who knows what she wants and knows how to get it. At last she develops a tender affection for Gopher Prairie. As Kennicott had suggested she decides willingly to return to Gopher Prairie.

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MonkeyNotes-Main Street by Sinclair Lewis
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