Reference Entry

Main Street

James D. Hart

in The Concise Oxford Companion to American Literature

Published in print January 1986 | ISBN: 9780195047714
Published online January 2002 | e-ISBN: 9780199891030
Main Street

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novel by Sinclair Lewis, published in 1920 and dramatized in 1921 by Harvey O’Higgins and Harriet Ford.

Carol Milford, a girl of quick intelligence but no particular talent, after graduation from college meets and marries Will Kennicott, a sober, kindly, unimaginative physician of Gopher Prairie, Minn., who tells her that the town needs her abilities. She finds the village to be a smug, intolerant, unimaginatively standardized place, where the people will not accept her efforts to create more sightly homes, organize a dramatic association, and otherwise improve the village life. A few characters stand above the apathy and provinciality of the rest: Vida Sherwin, the repressed and acidulous schoolteacher; Guy Pollock, the learned lawyer who has been entrapped by the “village virus”; and Miles Bjornstam, a laughing, iconoclastic Swedish vagabond. Carol draws away from her husband, falls in love with Erik Valborg, a kindred spirit, and finally goes to Washington to make her own life. When Kennicott comes for her, two years later, she returns with him, for, though she feels no love, she respects him, and being incapable of creating her own life appears not unhappy to return to the familiar, petty Gopher Prairie....

Reference Entry.  197 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (American)

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