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MonkeyNotes-Main Street by Sinclair Lewis
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Chapter 34

Summary

The Kennicotts travel for three and a half months and visit the Grand Canyon, Los Angeles, Pasadena and many other places. They meet the Dawsons who have settled in a bungalow at Pasadena. They return to Gopher Prairie in the first week of April. Since they had not informed anyone of their arrival and it is icy, nobody meets them at the station. Having missed the bus they decide to walk. They find it difficult to walk on the cold icy road with their suitcases. They stop at Haydock's house and talk about their vacation. Kennicott phones for a taxicab but before reaching them it skids and crashes into a tree. The Haydocks reluctantly offer to take out their car but the Kennicotts firmly refuse and start for home. Kennicott is delighted to be back home but Carol is not very enthusiastic. They meet Sam Clarke and he greets them very enthusiastically. Carol feels that she has lost the habit of lying. She can't display as much affection as Sam Clarke does.

In her love for Hugh she forgets everything else. She is even able to ignore Aunt Bessie's comments. She promises Hugh that she would never go away from him. She finds him spoilt by Aunt Bessie. She listens to the familiar conversation between Kennicott and Mrs. Bogart about the weather and the other familiar noises of the house. She cannot remember that she had ever been away from home. She finds it unbearable to live in the house. When she seeks Kennicott to tell him she finds him examining the furnace. He appears to be happy to be back. She finds it difficult to break his heart. She looks at the pencil mark she made while planning picnics with Fern. She feels very lonely. When the Clarks call on them and tell them how happy they are to see them, she feels nice to be needed.


Notes

Carol has a wonderful holiday. They jog, bathe in the surf, climb foothills and dance. They watch a polo game and the making of a motion picture. She meets an artist and talks to him. She feels touched when Kennicott takes her to an art gallery and tries to enjoy looking at the pictures. But she feels dismayed at the way people belonging to small towns like Gopher Prairie seek each other to talk about the same old things. Kennicott too seeks out his kind and revels in talking about motorcars and crops and politics.

When they return home Carol finds it even more difficult to whip up any enthusiasm for the town or for their friends. Her homecoming is as full of misgivings as was her first homecoming as a bride. It is indeed surprising that all the years and friendships and her child fail to create any attachment for the town. Characteristically Kennicott observes all the additions-the new fences and the new signboards, when Carol notices how they have let the refuse accumulate behind their houses. She fails to find any attraction in the town. The only attachment she finds in the place is, her son Hugh.

Kennicott too enjoys every minute of their holiday and is happier to be back home. The way the Haydocks interrupt the Kennicotts to talk about their own holidays is universal behavior.

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