Study Guide

Arrowsmith Chapter 19

By Sinclair Lewis

Chapter 19

Sections 1-4

  • Shortly after arriving in Nautilus, Martin gets a call from an old med school buddy named Irving Watters, who also happens to be a doctor in Nautilus. Martin isn't especially happy to hear from the guy, since he remembers Irving as a really boring dude. He tries to avoid having dinner at the guy's house, but he knows he can't keep avoiding him forever. 
  • Eventually, Martin and Leora visit the Watterses. Irving tries to give Martin the lay of the land, telling him to take up golf and to meet the right people. 
  • Irving's wife asks Martin and Leora whether they have any children, and when she finds out that they don't she insists that they should have some soon. 
  • This basically drives a knife into both Leora and Martin, since they can't have kids.
  • Between Pickerbaugh and Watters, Martin gets pulled into all kinds of social clubs in Nautilus and he ends up spending a lot of his time around men he wants nothing to do with. 
  • Before he knows it, Martin has to do something he's never done before: go up in front of a large crowd and give a speech on public health. He has to do it in a church, no less, and he's nervous beyond belief. But he actually does pretty well at it and gets a lot of compliments from the people of Nautilus. 
  • Best of all (for Martin's ego, at least), Pickerbaugh's pretty daughter Orchid admires the way he speaks to everybody and takes every opportunity she can to brush up against him and tell him how great he is. 
  • Leora is a little less enthusiastic about how well he did, because she knows that speaking in front of crowds isn't the real him. She even criticizes him for talking too much, which annoys him a lot. The two of them end up getting in a pretty big fight about whether Martin is becoming a sellout. 
  • Soon after, Martin and Leora go with the Pickerbaughs out to a cottage to hang out. While there, a schoolteacher gives Leora a lot of attention (you know what we mean), and the jealous Martin uses the opportunity to play in the snow with Orchid and to wrestle with her. Yeah, it gets pretty sexual.

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