Main Street: The Story of Carol Kennicott

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Author: Sinclair Lewis

I

WHEN America entered the Great European War, Vida sent Raymie off to an officers’ training-camp—less than a year after her wedding. Raymie was diligent and rather strong. He came out a first lieutenant of infantry, and was one of the earliest sent abroad.

Carol grew definitely afraid of Vida as Vida transferred the passion which had been released in marriage to the cause of the war; as she lost all tolerance. When Carol was touched by the desire for heroism in Raymie and tried tactfully to express it, Vida made her feel like an impertinent child.

By enlistment and draft, the sons of Lyman Cass, Nat Hicks, Sam Clark joined the army. But most of the soldiers were the sons of German and Swedish farmers unknown to Carol. Dr. Terry Gould and Dr. McGanum became captains in the medical corps, and were stationed at camps in Iowa and Georgia. They were the only officers, besides Raymie, from the Gopher Prairie district. Kennicott wanted to go with them, but the several doctors of the town forgot medical rivalry and, meeting in council, decided that he would do better to wait and keep the town well till he should be needed. Kennicott was forty-two now; the only youngish doctor left in a radius of eighteen miles. Old Dr. Westlake, who loved comfort like a cat, protestingly rolled out at night for country calls, and hunted through his collar-box for his G. A. R. button.

Carol did not quite know what she thought about Kennicott’s going. Certainly she was no Spartan wife. She knew that he wanted to go; she knew that this longing was always in him, behind his unchanged trudging and remarks about the weather. She felt for him an admiring affection—and she was sorry that she had nothing more than affection.

Cy Bogart was the spectacular warrior of the town. Cy was no longer the weedy boy who had sat in the loft speculating about Carol’s egotism and the mysteries of generation. He was nineteen now, tall, broad, busy, the "town sport," famous for his ability to drink beer, to shake dice, to tell undesirable stories, and, from his post in front of Dyer’s drug store, to embarrass the girls by "jollying" them as they passed. His face was at once peach-bloomed and pimply.

Cy was to be heard publishing it abroad that if he couldn’t get the Widow Bogart’s permission to enlist, he’d run away and enlist without it. He shouted that he "hated every dirty Hun; by gosh, if he could just poke a bayonet into one big fat Heinie and learn him some decency and democracy, he’d die happy." Cy got much reputation by whipping a farmboy named Adolph Pochbauer for being a "damn hyphenated German." . . . This was the younger Pochbauer, who was killed in the Argonne, while he was trying to bring the body of his Yankee captain back to the lines. At this time Cy Bogart was still dwelling in Gopher Prairie and planning to go to war.

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Chicago: Sinclair Lewis, "I," Main Street: The Story of Carol Kennicott in Main Street: The Story of Carol Kennicott (New York: Harcourt, Brace & Co., 1920), Original Sources, accessed September 29, 2022, http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=4VSC3T8KHLXR23N.

MLA: Lewis, Sinclair. "I." Main Street: The Story of Carol Kennicott, in Main Street: The Story of Carol Kennicott, New York, Harcourt, Brace & Co., 1920, Original Sources. 29 Sep. 2022. http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=4VSC3T8KHLXR23N.

Harvard: Lewis, S, 'I' in Main Street: The Story of Carol Kennicott. cited in 1920, Main Street: The Story of Carol Kennicott, Harcourt, Brace & Co., New York. Original Sources, retrieved 29 September 2022, from http://www.originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=4VSC3T8KHLXR23N.