Study Guide

Main Street Chapter 23

By Harry Sinclair Lewis

Chapter 23

  • We're at the point where America has decided to enter World War I. Vida sends her new husband Raymie off to a training camp so he can do his part for his country.
  • Mrs. Bogart's son Cy wants to join the army so he can kill some Germans, but Mrs. Bogart won't let him, since he's still only a teenager.
  • Meanwhile, Carol keeps hearing about how the war is going to bring about a basic change in human psychology and wipe the slate clean. She hopes this is the case, even though it'll take a lot of death to accomplish it.
  • The town gets excited when it finds out that its most famous son, Percy Bresnahan, will be coming to visit. Percy is the president of a car company in Boston, and everyone is proud of how rich and powerful he has become.
  • Bresnahan pays a special visit to the Kennicott house and flirts a little with Carol. Carol is cold with him, but part of her likes the attention.
  • Bresnahan goes on a picnic with Will and Carol the next day, and people from the town are eager to know Bresnahan's inside gossip about the war. He hates the German Empire, but he still thinks it's better than the alternative, which is all the communists and socialists agitating in the German streets.
  • Carol later hears a story about how Miles Bjornstam tried to smack-talk Bresnahan for being a greedy capitalist. But apparently Bresnahan verbally humiliated Miles and got everyone in the town gloating over the victory.
  • Worst of all, Carol is crushed to realize that she thinks of Bresnahan as a real man and feels attracted to him, even though he stands for everything she dislikes in the world.

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