Study Guide

Guy Pollock in Main Street

By Harry Sinclair Lewis

Guy Pollock

Guy Pollock is a romantic at heart, just like Carol Kennicott. But the problem with him is that he's given up on himself in a way that Carol hasn't. When he describes his situation, he claims that he is a victim of the "Village Virus," which, according to him, is something that happens to people in small towns: basically, small towns destroy people's creativity.

Guy even describes a time when he tried to get away from Gopher Prairie, saying, "I decided to leave here. Stern resolution. Grasp the world. Then I found that the Village Virus had me, absolute! I didn't want to face new streets and younger men" (13.1.32). In other words, Guy has become so used to living in Gopher Prairie that he won't risk having to compete with hungry young men. He doesn't want to give up the numb comfort he's found in the small town—and to this extent, he proves to be a disappointment for Carol.

Although Guy shares many of Carol's beliefs, he's not as much a fan of socialism as she is. When asked why workers shouldn't be able to run their own mills, Guy answers, "Democracy is all right theoretically, and I'll admit there are industrial injustices, but I'd rather have them than see the world reduced to a dead level of mediocrity" (16.5.11).

In other words, Guy is still a bit elitist when it comes to politics. He doesn't want the whole world getting dragged down trying to serve ordinary people. The ironic thing here is that this is exactly what Guy has done with his life—given in to mediocrity by choosing to stay in Gopher Prairie.