Wednesday, August 04, 2010

main street

I read Main Street by Sinclair Lewis for book group in July. I was surprisingly irritated by the main character, a librarian who marries a doctor and moves to a small town and can't figure out how to fit in, but many people in the group defended her. I mostly liked this quote from the end about her baby daughter:
"Her baby, born in August, was a girl. Carol could not decide whether she was to become a feminist leader or marry a scientist or both, but did settle on Vassar and a tricolette suit with a small black hat for her Freshman year. "

And this whole passage about her young son:

Hugh was loquacious at breakfast. He desired to give his impressions of owls and F Street.
"Don't make so much noise. You talk too much," growled Kennicott.
Carol flared. "Don't speak to him that way! Why don't you listen to him? He has some very interesting things to tell."
"What's the idea? Mean to say you expect me to spend all my time listening to his chatter?"
"Why not?"
"For one thing, he's got to learn a little discipline. Time for him to start getting educated."
"I've learned much more discipline, I've had much more education, from him than he has from me."
"What's this? Some new-fangled idea of raising kids you got in Washington?"
"Perhaps. Did you ever realize that children are people?"
"That's all right. I'm not going to have him monopolizing the conversation."
"No, of course. We have our rights, too. But I'm going to bring him up as a human being. He has just as many thoughts as we have, and I want him to develop them, not take Gopher Prairie's version of them. That's my biggest work now -- keeping myself, keeping you, from `educating' him."

And this was the line that made me cry (because pretty much everything these days involving kiddos makes me cry a bit!):

Don't you ever get tired of fretting and stewing and experimenting?"
"I haven't even started. Look!" She led him to the nursery door, pointed at the fuzzy brown head of her daughter. "Do you see that object on the pillow? Do you know what it is? It's a bomb to blow up smugness. If you Tories were wise, you wouldn't arrest anarchists; you'd arrest all these children while they're asleep in their cribs. Think what that baby will see and meddle with before she dies in the year 2000! She may see an industrial union of the whole world, she may see aeroplanes going to Mars."
"Yump, probably be changes all right," yawned Kennicott.

I read 486 pages.


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