Main Street

by: Sinclair Lewis

Chapters 7–10

Carol's character in these chapters is far different from her character at the novel's opening. Her entrapment in the small town has taken a toll on her: she deliberately withdraws from society and fears criticism, nothing like the popular and vivacious college student she once was. Although Carol dreams about being a great crusader, she worries too much about what people think of her. Bjornstam, on the other hand, does not care what others think of him. In many ways, Carol still resembles a child because she demands attention from other people and desires their acceptance. In fact, her desire for acceptance proves to be one of her great shortcomings. After all, rebels, by their very nature, do not necessarily fit into society. Carol finds herself in a dilemma, wondering if she should conform to society's standards or openly rebel against society. Her dilemma provides Main Street with one of its major themes, that of the individual against society. Throughout the novel, Carol tries to maintain her individuality in a society that demands she conform to its standards.