Study Questions and Essay Topics
What autobiographical elements does Lewis include in Main Street?
What is Lewis's intention in writing Main Street? How does he realistically record American small-town life and American society in the early twentieth century?
How do the personalities of the novel's two main protagonists, Carol and Will Kennicott, contrast?
Suggested Essay Topics
What does Carol dislike about Gopher Prairie? What does she hope to accomplish through her reforms? How does Lewis suggest that Gopher Prairie may not be as bad as Carol imagines?
How does Carol attempt to mentally escape Gopher Prairie? When she finally leaves Gopher Prairie to move to Washington, does she actually leave the town mentally? What is the "Village Virus"? Does Carol ever catch the "Village Virus"?
Why did Main Street create such a literary sensation when it was first published? What was the American reading public's reaction to the novel?
How does the novel end? What is the significance of this ending?
How does Carol's relationship to the townspeople change as the novel progresses. In particular, how do her relationships with Vida Sherwin, Guy Pollock, and Kennicott change?
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