Arrowsmith

Summary

Chapters 7–9

Summary Chapters 7–9

When Clif discovers that he is going to be expelled for what he has done, he resigns from the medical school before the school can expunge him, leaving Martin behind.

Clif comes to visit Martin in his new car and in his new suit. He is making good money as a car salesman and takes Martin out to eat at the Zenith Grand. Meanwhile, Leora has written a letter to Martin implying that she will not be able to return to Zenith. Martin takes to the drink and, one day, answers back to Gottlieb in an unacceptable manner during a class that he assistant teaches with Gottlieb.

Dean Silva gives Martin an ultimatum and tells him that he needs to apologize to Gottlieb, to stop drinking so much, and implies that he should not confer with the likes of Clif. Martin refuses all of this and is suspended from medical school until he can come to terms with what he has done. Martin then borrows money from Clif and leaves town. He travels all over and obtains dishwashing jobs and the like. After wandering the states for a while, he realizes that he must return to medical school but not before seeing Leora.

He goes to Leora's home in Dakota and tells her what has happened. She accepts all of it, and they elope, even though her parents and her brother, Bert Tozer, had wanted them to wait until he finished medical school. As a result, Mr. Tozer tells Martin that they shall not live together until he finishes school, and that, until then, Leora shall remain in their home. After all of this, Martin goes back to school and finds himself in the office of Dean Silva.

Analysis

Through the character of Dr. Roscoe Geake, Sinclair Lewis is able to criticize a certain aspect of the medical world that is present throughout the novel. Lewis calls him a salesman and a "peddler" and had him leave the university to sell doctors' office furniture. Before he leaves, Geake gives a speech entitled "The Art and Science of Furnishing the Doctor's office." In this speech he talks about the fact that office furniture is the doctor's first step toward selling "the idea of being properly cured." This section is humorous in its obvious satire, and it is Lewis's forte.

Not only does Lewis write Geake into these chapters, but he also introduces the salesman side of Clif Clawson. After leaving school, Geake, almost immediately becomes a fairly successful car salesman, which indicates that the step from doctor to salesman is, unfortunately not so very distant or difficult to achieve. At the Grand, where Clif takes Martin to eat, the two run into George F. Babbitt, the protagonist of Lewis's previous novel, in which Lewis acerbically critiques the archetypal American businessman. This is yet another critique on the commercialism of the medical profession that Lewis is exposing. The fact that Geake knows Babbitt simply adds to that critique and links the works, especially in these chapters. And yet, there are those like Martin who stand opposed to all of this. However, it is in this section of the novel that Martin begins to become disheartened.