Study Guide

Arrowsmith Chapter 23

By Sinclair Lewis

Chapter 23

Sections 1-5

  • It doesn't take Martin long to start making enemies as the new Director of Public Health. For starters, he supports the free medical clinics in the city, which infuriates all of the high-earning doctors like Irving Watters. One day, Irving even walks up to Martin in a restaurant and criticizes him for being a socialist. Martin tells him to shut up.
  • Now that he's the boss, Martin also starts spending a lot more time doing research in his lab instead of getting out into the community.
  • The mayor is quick to scold him for this. 
  • Martin's next major order of business is to tear down a bunch of unhealthy slum apartment buildings in the city. He makes a powerful enemy of the rich widow who owns them. Meanwhile, he alienates just about every powerful ally he has by refusing to party with them. 
  • Martin is eventually pushed out of his job by salary reductions and a new boss. He quits and leaves Nautilus to find a new job. 
  • His next job opportunity is in the Rouncefield Clinic in Chicago, which is where his old med school acquaintance Angus Duer is currently working. 
  • He gets the job without much trouble and moves to Chicago with Leora.
  • Life in Chicago is pretty straightforward. Martin likes his working conditions for the most part, but he's not all that keen on hanging out with Angus Duer every weekend. Angus' wife is especially condescending to Leora, which drives Martin nuts. 
  • After a year in Chicago, Martin decides that he'll never be fulfilled unless he finds a way to work in a laboratory and do research. 
  • He eventually writes a scientific paper that gets some traction in the medical community. 
  • He then sends a copy to his old mentor, Max Gottlieb, who writes back immediately and offers him a job at the McGurk Research Institute in New York. 
  • Of course, Martin and Leora head for the Big Apple.

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