You can guess that marriage will play an important role in Arrowsmith from the moment Martin Arrowsmith becomes engaged to two women at once. He resolves this problem fairly quickly, but his marriage to Leora then becomes the main focus of this book… apart from Martin's obsession with science and truth.
Martin even gets married a second time after Leora's death. But this time around, he realizes that maybe marriage isn't part of his destiny at all. Maybe he's supposed to run off into the woods and to do science experiments. Maybe he's better off being married to his work than to a human woman.
Questions About Marriage
Do you think Martin is a good husband to Leora? Why or why not?
Why do you think Martin ultimately chooses Leora over Madeline Fox? Use evidence from the text to support your answer.
Why does Leora's family object so much to Martin and Leora's marriage? How much influence do they have over the final decision?
Why do you think Martin agrees to marry Joyce Lanyon after Leora dies? What does it tell us about him?
Chew on This
In Arrowsmith, we learn that marriage is more about people's ability to tolerate one another than it is about love.
In Arrowsmith, Sinclair Lewis shows us that you should only get married if you're willing to sacrifice your personal goals for the sake of your relationship.