Study Guide

Angus Duer in Arrowsmith

By Sinclair Lewis

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Angus Duer

Angus is the top student in Martin's medical school and he knows it. The dude is a standoffish snob who always seems to have a judging sneer plastered on his face. The only real look we get at his deeper personality comes out when he gets in a tussle with a security guard and nearly kills the guy with a knife. Afterward, Duer is totally nuts with bloodlust, saying,

"My God, I wish I'd killed him! He laid his filthy hands on me! Martin! Hold me here on the car. I thought I'd got over that. Once when I was a kid, I tried to kill a fellow—God, I wish I'd cut that filthy swine's throat." (7.6.31)

It looks like beneath all of the guy's prim and proper judgments, he's a bit of a psycho. After seeing Angus lose his mind, Martin Arrowsmith figures that the two of them might start bonding. But he's totally wrong, because the day after Angus' meltdown, Angus goes right back to acting all high and mighty. He responds to Martin's gentle offering of friendship by snapping, "You were frightfully stewed last night, Arrowsmith. If you can't handle your liquor better than that, you better cut it out entirely" (7.6.34). Huh. So much for being friends with ol' Angus.

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