Study Guide

Arrowsmith Chapter 28

By Sinclair Lewis

Chapter 28

Sections 1-5

  • As time passes, Martin realizes that Dr. Tubbs is probably not going to fire him. The only reason he can think of is that Max Gottlieb must have gone to bat for him. 
  • About a year later, Tubbs walks into Martin's lab. It turns out that the discovery hasn't aroused all of the interest that Tubbs thinks it should have. 
  • He thinks that Martin can turn this around by applying the exact same discovery to practical situations in ways that can heal people. 
  • Martin gets to work because he knows he'll be fired if he doesn't. Next thing you know, he's curing rabbits of pneumonia using the "phage" substance that he's been researching. 
  • In the meantime, Dr. Tubbs becomes deeply involved with an organization called the "League of Cultural Agencies," whose mission it is to make sure that all intellectual thought in America conforms to a strict set of "moral" ideas. Basically, Tubbs is becoming a propagandist. The dude eventually resigns so he can work with this outfit full-time. 
  • Now with Tubbs gone, there are all kinds of scientists at McGurk who are jockeying for Tubbs' old position. Everyone thinks it's going to be the company yes-man, Dr. Holabird. 
  • In a surprise move, though, the company chooses Max Gottlieb as their next director. Martin worries that Max is going to become a company man after all and stop working on his research. 
  • There's a dinner in Gottlieb's honor with all kinds of rich donors and stuff. Yup, it looks like this is actually going to happen. 
  • At first, Gottlieb plans to only spend an hour a day administrating, and the rest working on his research. But as time goes on, he sees more and more of his time eaten up by meetings that he cares nothing about. 
  • To make things even more interesting, the wacky Dr. Gustaf Sondelius shows up at McGurk (without a job) and just starts using one of their guest labs.
  • Martin keeps on working on cures with his "phage' discovery, and he eventually finds that he can cure rats of the bubonic plague with a vaccines he's created. This is a big deal since 400,000 people a year are still dying of this disease during Lewis' time. 
  • For these plague experiments, Sondelius becomes Martin's assistant, even though Sondelius is world famous and Martin is a relative nobody. Neither one of them seems to notice the change, though, since they're only interested in science.

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