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Main Street

af Sinclair Lewis

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4,065742,910 (3.75)360
Classic Literature. Fiction. HTML:

Carol Milford is an exuberant, liberal-hearted woman who marries a man from a small town. After they marry they settle in his home-town, Gopher Prairie, which Carol finds narrow and ugly. She throws herself into reforming the town, but is met only with derision by her own class. She decides to leave, but finds that the world outside is just as flawed as Gopher Prairie. She remains uncowed, however, declaring "I do not admit that dish-washing is enough to satisfy all women!"

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Engelsk (71)  Spansk (1)  Alle sprog (72)
Viser 1-5 af 72 (næste | vis alle)
Like so many others, I read this in high school. I read it again in college. Both times I adored the story, and it led to Sinclair Lewis becoming a favorite author. [b:Elmer Gantry|11378|Elmer Gantry|Sinclair Lewis|https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1386925217l/11378._SX50_.jpg|13842] and [b:It Can't Happen Here|11371|It Can't Happen Here|Sinclair Lewis|https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1670180451l/11371._SY75_.jpg|1296784] played roles in shaping my religious and political views.

Oddly, I remembered none of this book as I read it for a third time. It was far more boring than I thought it would be. Things I expected were not present. I think that some memories come from [b:A Doll's House|37793|A Doll's House|Henrik Ibsen|https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1660268136l/37793._SY75_.jpg|10535173], but I'm not sure. Given that my memory of the book and play stretches back more than forty years, it's inevitable that some memories will meld or change.

Main Street is well written. Lewis is a master at building and then tearing down characters with satire. (Sometimes he bats you about the face with it.) However, I think he's a better writer when he's criticizing society outright. So, I was a bit disappointed. I think his immaturity as a writer is displayed quite prominently when [b:Main Street|11376|Main Street|Sinclair Lewis|https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1308953459l/11376._SY75_.jpg|18537748] is placed next to other books like [b:Arrowsmith|11389|Arrowsmith|Sinclair Lewis|https://i.gr-assets.com/images/S/compressed.photo.goodreads.com/books/1328006651l/11389._SY75_.jpg|1446230].

But, these are my foibles as an older person. I've noticed lately that I don't have the patience for young writers that I used to have. So, the rating stays the same as I gave it when I was in my teens and in my 20s. ( )
  rabbit-stew | Dec 31, 2023 |
It's curious that Sinclair Lewis chose to illustrate his satire on small town life through the eyes of a female character, Carol Kennicott, nee Milford. It is really his description of his own small Minnesota town that he is writing about.

Carol is a young woman raised in St. Paul by an intellectual father, who graduates from college knowing she wants to make a difference, though not how to do that. After working for a few years as a librarian, she meets Will Kennicott, a doctor from the small town of Gopher Prairie, marries and goes to live there. From the start, she hates the ugly prairie town, but is determined to change it, and the people in it.

One of my criticisms is that the book goes on and on and on describing the small town pettiness of the neighbors, the ugliness of the buildings. I think I got the idea about 50 pages in. Another problem is that Carol is a rather two-dimensional character; I don't think Sinclair understands this woman. He describes her husband, the hard working, plain speaking rural doctor with more feeling, more understanding. And then there is the writing, which is fine prose, but reads more like a magazine article than a story. And there isn't much of a story here. Very little happens.

I found I did understand what Lewis was trying to say about small town life; it was my own experience growing up in a small town 40 years later. I guess it was different and new when it was published, the fact that he was criticizing small-town America. But I don't think that much has really changed. ( )
  fromthecomfychair | Oct 15, 2023 |
A scathing and nuanced exploration of how people can be terrible in general and small town America can be terrible in particular. This book proves why Lewis was popular during his life and highlights the shame of the fact that he’s more or less forgotten today. My favorite character was Miles Bjornstam, a hard working but caustic and critical Swedish immigrant who felt like someone visiting Lewis’s world from an Upton Sinclair novel.


( )
  Autolycus21 | Oct 10, 2023 |
One of the first grown up kinds of novels I read, though, now, years later I can't describe its details. ( )
  mykl-s | Aug 10, 2023 |
The ideas offered were interesting and many are still relevant today. The copy of the book I read had a different cover, but the same ISBN. The repetition of incidents became tedious, as did the characters who were mere spokes pieces. Carol, the main character, had an inner life, but was also very naive and idealistic. Her husband, Dr. Kennicott, believed in both White and male superiority, but tried to see his wife's point of view. Many of the characters were stereotypes, especially the women. This took place in Sauk Centre and was supposed to be a satire of small towns. ( )
  suesbooks | Apr 18, 2023 |
Viser 1-5 af 72 (næste | vis alle)
Ninety years after publication, Sinclair Lewis’s Main Street still resonates with readers ... The book became an immediate sensation. Biographer Mark Schorer called its publication “the most sensational event in twentieth-century American publishing history.” ... Lewis found a way to appeal to both those who were nostalgic for small town America and those who were dissatisfied with it.
 

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Forfatter navnRolleHvilken slags forfatterVærk?Status
Lewis, Sinclairprimær forfatteralle udgaverbekræftet
Mallon, ThomasIntroduktionmedforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet
Schorer, MarkEfterskriftmedforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet
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On a hill by the Mississippi where Chippewas camped two generations ago, a girl stood in relief against the cornflower blue of Northern sky.
This is America - a town of a few thousand, in a region of wheat and corn and dairies and little groves.
Main Street (1920) was Sinclair Lewis's first great success in the novel. (Afterword)
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She had her freedom, and it was empty.
Not a matter of heroism. Matter of endurance...There's one attack you can make on it, perhaps the only kind that accomplishes anything anywhere; you can keep on looking at one thing after another in your home and church and bank, and ask why it is, and who first laid down the law that it had to be that way. If enough of us do this impolitely enough, then we'll become civilized in merely twenty thousand years or so, instead of having to wait the two hundred thousand years that my cynical anthropologist friends allow...easy, pleasant, lucrative home-work for wives: asking people to define their jobs. That's the most dangerous doctrine I know!
The tragedy of old age, which is not that it is less vigorous than youth, but that it is not needed by youth; that its love and prosy sageness, so important a few years ago, so gladly offered now, are rejected with laughter.
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Main Street was written by Sinclair Lewis, not Upton Sinclair, so you might want to correct the author on your book page.  Thank you.
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Classic Literature. Fiction. HTML:

Carol Milford is an exuberant, liberal-hearted woman who marries a man from a small town. After they marry they settle in his home-town, Gopher Prairie, which Carol finds narrow and ugly. She throws herself into reforming the town, but is met only with derision by her own class. She decides to leave, but finds that the world outside is just as flawed as Gopher Prairie. She remains uncowed, however, declaring "I do not admit that dish-washing is enough to satisfy all women!"

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