Arrowsmith is a novel concerned with human pettiness and jealousy. Sinclair Lewis views jealousy as one of the strongest—and pettiest—human emotions. Throughout Lewis' work, you'll find people getting jealous because their neighbors have bigger cars or houses than them.
Even Lewis' most moral characters have a hard time overcoming jealousy. Martin Arrowsmith is jealous of colleague's achievements and his wife's admirers. Leora is jealous of the pretty young things that catch Martin's eye. She thinks Martin wants to smooch them. Hmm. Maybe Leora has a point there…
Questions About Jealousy
In your opinion, who is the more jealous lover: Martin or Leora? Why?
What is Leora's general reaction to Martin's flirtation with Orchid? What does it tell us about her? Use specific quotations from the text to support your answer.
Apart from his relationship with Leora, what are some other things that make Martin jealous in this novel? How does he overcome them? Does he?
What is Max Gottlieb's approach to professional jealousy in the world of science? Does he have any at all? Why or why not?
Chew on This
In Arrowsmith, Sinclair Lewis reminds us that there is no emotion that'll ever hold us back more than jealousy.
In Arrowsmith, Sinclair Lewis shows that jealousy can be a good thing if it pushes us to become better.