Study Guide

Arrowsmith Chapter 22

By Sinclair Lewis

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Chapter 22

Sections 1-4

  • As part of his campaign for governor, Dr. Pickerbaugh decides to hold a massive Health Fair to promote public health. He sets up all kinds of tents and attractions for the event, including "The Eugenic Family," which is a group of parents and kids who are supposed to represent a perfectly healthy life. 
  • During the fair, Martin has to work in a tent where he pretends he's doing scientific experiments. It turns out that all he's doing is pouring colored water from one test tube into another. 
  • But then this cute fair gets kind of dark. 
  • A police sergeant approaches Dr. Pickerbaugh and tells him that the so-called perfect Eugenic Family is actually a group of outlaws who live the most immoral, unhealthy life you can imagine. 
  • On the Saturday of the fair, an animal rights activist attacks a woman who's doing experiments on a mouse. Pickerbaugh tries to break them up, but the two just turn on him and call him all kinds of names, causing the whole crowd to laugh at him. 
  • If that weren't bad enough, a model kitchen catches fire and causes an entire tent to go up in flames. People start trampling each other to get away. 
  • Martin is the main person who helps put out the fire, but the newspapers end up reporting Pickerbaugh as the hero. It's just one more example of how history is made by heroes, but told by those with the loudest voices. 
  • The next time we see Martin he's sitting on a couch and hearing about the state election results. Pickerbaugh has won, which means that Martin is officially the new Director of Public Health. He feels nearly sick with anxiety. Meanwhile, Orchid gets upset with him because he hasn't shown any sadness about the fact that she's moving away and they'll never see each other again.

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