Study Guide

Arrowsmith Chapter 16

By Sinclair Lewis

Chapter 16

Sections 1-5

  • We look in on some rural folks who are talking about the doctors in the area. Martin Arrowsmith's name comes up, and we find out that people think of him as an untrustworthy drunk. They also don't like the fact that he doesn't go to church. 
  • Later on, there's a bad case of "blackleg" that's affecting a lot of the cows around Martin's town. It turns out that the vaccine people are giving their cows isn't strong enough, so Martin makes one that is. Sure enough, the problem goes away, but people don't like the fact that a doctor has been going around acting like a veterinarian. 
  • Just when things are looking bad, Martin reads that his new hero, Gustaf Sondelius, is going to lecture at a nearby university. He decides to try to meet the big man himself. 
  • Martin listens closely to Sondelius' lecture. A lot of people in the audience don't agree with Sondelius because he has radical ideas about how the government should step up in order to eliminate disease. Martin, though, agrees with Sondelius' view. 
  • When the lecture is over and all the attendees have left, Martin approaches Sondelius and asks him if he'd like to go out for a drink. 
  • Martin wants to chat about the ideals of science and medicine, but all Sondelius seems interested in is checking out girls and talking about how hot they are. 
  • Martin finally gets Sondelius' attention when he brings up the name of Max Gottlieb. Sondelius admits that this man is the greatest bacteriologist of them all. He reveres Gottlieb just as much as Martin once did. 
  • They meet up with another guy (who Sondelius almost punches) and the three of them party until the early morning hours. Then they go their separate ways.

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