Study Guide

Bea Sorenson in Main Street

By Harry Sinclair Lewis

Bea Sorenson

When it comes to a person's reaction to Gopher Prairie, Bea Sorenson is basically the anti-Carol. While Carol only sees a dirty hick town, Bea looks around Gopher Prairie and sees an exciting and thriving modern city. Of course, she's used to living in a shack out in the middle of nowhere, so even a small town like Gopher Prairie makes her think, "But here she could put on her hat any evening, and in three minutes' walk be to the movies, and see lovely fellows in dress-suits and Bill Hart and everything!" (4.3.22).

Bea Sorenson's role in this book is to remind us that one person's trash can truly be another person's treasure. If Carol could see Gopher Prairie through Bea Sorenson's eyes, she'd see a very different town.

While Carol wants to escape Gopher Prairie at any cost, Bea can only look around and think of how wonderful the place is. She doesn't even care how much she makes as a maid, as long as she gets to stay in the town: "What did she care if she got six dollars a week? Or two! It was worth while working for nothing, to be allowed to stay here" (4.3.25).

Now, this isn't to say that Carol is a bad person, or that she's wrong about Gopher Prairie. Bea is simply here to remind us that our subjective minds can have a huge effect on how satisfied we are with our lives, even if we can't always choose what attitudes we'd like to have.