Main Street

Main Ideas

Themes

Main Ideas Themes

In the second half of the novel, Carol and Kennicott's deteriorating marriage takes center stage as the novel's main conflict, as both characters seek romance elsewhere. As the literary critic Mark Schorer points out, the two protagonists prove to be familiar American types: the complacent husband who possesses common sense and solidity and the discontented wife who possesses romantic dreams. While Lewis presents Gopher Prairie as a microcosm for America as a whole, he also presents Carol and Kennicott as the representative of the American husband and wife. In many ways, their struggle represents the eternal conflict between the opposite sexes, which Carol sums up in Chapter 24: "There are two races of people, only two, and they live side by side. His calls mine 'neurotic'; mine calls his 'stupid." We'll never understand each other. [We are] enemies, yoked."