Study Guide

Main Street Chapter 26

By Harry Sinclair Lewis

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Chapter 26

  • Carol's favorite thing to do in Gopher Prairie is to take her son Hugh and visit Miles and Bea Bjornstam. Will doesn't like it one bit, because he thinks the Bjornstams are beneath them socially. Plus, Miles is a labor agitator.
  • But Carol goes to the Bjornstams' anyway. She loves the way Miles lets the children hold his tools. She thinks that Miles's farm life is more authentic than her world of upper-class boredom. She's sad when Miles starts talking about moving his family West.
  • One day, Carol drops by to find Miles's son Olaf and wife Bea looking pretty sick. Miles didn't want to call Will, because he thinks Will doesn't like him. But Carol calls Will right away.
  • When Will has a chance to inspect Bea and Olaf, the news isn't good: he's figured out that both of them have typhoid fever. Carol volunteers to be the nurse while Will tries to treat them.
  • When it becomes clear that neither Bea or Olaf will survive, some of the town's women come with food and offers for help, but Miles throws them off his front step, saying that his wife Bea had always hoped for visitors but had never had any, because everyone in the town was too stuck up.
  • After Bea and Olaf have died, Carol goes home. Her son Hugh runs up to her crying and says he wants to play with Olaf.
  • Meanwhile, the people around town hate Miles more than ever after he dared to insult the town's women. They also blame him for making his wife and child sick by being a terrible person. It's clear that this kind of talk totally shreds Carol's soul.

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