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MonkeyNotes-Main Street by Sinclair Lewis
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She visits the rest room and finds it furnished with lop sided reed chairs and gritty straw mats and kerosene stove. She is informed that thousands of farmer’s wives used the restroom and they appreciated the kindness of the ladies who provided the rest room. But Carol decides that the restroom too has to be rebuilt.

She describes her plan to Mrs. Perry, one of the pioneers of the city. But Mrs. Perry describes the troubles they faced in those pioneering days to convince Carol that the farmer’s wives can not ask for more. She too was a farmer’s wife and she never expected to have any rest room. The rest room as it is, is very elegant, and the city hall is fine according to Mrs. Perry. She does not feel the need for a dancing hall and feels the church should serve the purpose of the lecture hall. She also asserts that the town is beautiful and she would not like to see it torn down.

Carol then tries to coax Mrs. Cass, the wife of the flourmill owner. She tells Carol that the town can not afford the expenses of a new city hall she even asserts that the people should oppose any expenditure proposed by the city council. Kennicott too is of the same opinion. Carol talks to Vida about the new city hall. Vida explains to her how difficult it is to get funds . She describes how the ladies of the Thanatopsis got the money for the rest room and the project to cover the pump station with vines with much difficulty. She even tells Carol that what is considered to be beautiful is a matter of taste. She is all for coaxing the city council to vote for a new school even if it meant waiting for ten years. Carol suggests that every one should contribute money and build it co-operatively. Vida tells her that the merchants fear the word co-operative more than anything else they do.


On her way back home Carol feels most unhappy, yet she tries to think of someone else she could turn to. She realizes that Guy Pollock is cautious. She needs some one with her vision to build the city hall. She thinks of Mr. Dawson and tries a different approach. She asks him if he is a millionaire. He admits that he has two millions. She then describes her plan to him and tries to convince him that he could individually fund the project to beautify Gopher Prairie. Dawson informs her that he has no intentions of spending his hard-earned money on the town. He asserts that Gopher Prairie is a beautiful town and many people share his opinion. He also informs Carol that he plans to buy a bungalow at Pasadena and settle down with his wife there. Carol meets Bjornstam and tells him about her attempt and Dawson’s reply. He agrees with Dawson that there was no need spend money on the town. But he asserts that the town should do some thing for itself. Carol than adopts the idea of doing something for the poor instead of hankering after the new city hall.

In the meeting of the Tahanatopsis Carol proposes that the club should do something to help the poor to help themselves, so that they need not depend on charity. She wants to give them an employment bureau, directions in washing babies and making stews, and create a municipal fund for building houses. Mrs. Warren asserts that charity was the duty of every Christian. Empowering the poor to help themselves would deprive them of the chance to be charitable. Anything given as charity would earn them the poor people’s gratitude. Miss Ella Stowbody asserts that there is no poverty in Gopher Prairie and the people were simply fooling her. Mrs. Elder points out that they give the poor a lot of clothes. Carol insists that they should at least mend the clothes before giving them away. This invites the ire of all present. They declare that with their tree planting, anti-fly campaign and the restroom they have done enough for the poor. Vida calls Carol’s suggestions ‘generous’ but is of the opinion that they should not start anything more. She changes the topic by suggesting that they should concentrate on the election of the State federation President. They do not want Mrs. Potbury who supports women’s suffrage. They decide to support Mrs. Hagelton, if her supporters agreed to support Mrs. Warren for second Vice President. The members then indulge in gossip about Mrs. Potbury. For the topics for the next year they choose Furnishings and China and The Bible as literature. Carol ventures to point out that they got enough of The Bible in the church and the Sunday school and invites everybody’s wrath upon herself. She tries to clarify that her intention was to have relevant problems like the labor problem should be discussed but she is totally ignored and ‘Furnishings and China’ is adopted as the topic for the next year. Carol decides to give up her dreams of changing the town.

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