Study Guide

Main Street Chapter 28

By Harry Sinclair Lewis

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Chapter 28

  • Carol goes to a meeting of the Jolly Seventeen and speaks to Maud Dyer, who for some reason has been really nice to Carol lately. Let's not forget that the last time we saw her, she was getting a private visit from Carol's husband Will…
  • Maud Dyer tells all about a new young tailor named Erik who has moved into Gopher Prairie. He's so fancy in his manner and dress that people have nicknamed him Elizabeth. Apparently, this dude whines and moans about how he can't find any intellectual companionship in the town. Everyone laughs, including Carol. They even find out that it's Erik's dream to design clothing for women.
  • When the meeting is over, Carol decides that she'll walk by the tailor shop to have a look at the new "freak" in town.
  • Next, Carol attends a sermon by the local Baptist reverend that's all about loving America and crushing communism... and apparently Mormonism.
  • During the sermon, Carol looks around and sees a young man who shines out from among the boring people of Gopher Prairie. After the sermon, she asks who the young man was and finds out that he's none other than Erik Valbourg, the effeminate tailor no one seems to like. She decides that she must meet him.
  • Later, Carol brings Valbourg up when talking to Will and her in-laws. They make fun of Erik, and Carol thinks about murdering her in-laws with a knife.
  • When Erik Valbourg first came to Gopher Prairie, there was a young woman named Fern Mullins who came on the same train. The folks around the town are suspicious of her because she's so pretty and not shy about showing it off.
  • Carol goes to introduce herself to Fern and learns that Fern wishes she were back in a big city. Carol can relate and feels an instant connection with Fern.
  • One day, Carol takes a pair of Will's pants to get pressed at the tailor's. She runs into Erik Valbourg and he gets excited when he finds out who she is. He's heard all about her knowledge of culture and her efforts to start a dramatic club. He feels like he's found someone he can finally talk to. He thinks Carol should get a club together again and volunteers to make the costumes.
  • Carol goes away thinking that Erik has no sense of humor and only a superficial bit of knowledge. But she's still attracted by the way he seems to reach for the stars with everything he does.
  • Will, meanwhile, always greets Erik rudely, because he thinks Erik is beneath him.
  • Sure enough, Carol holds another meeting of the Gopher Prairie Dramatic Club, and Erik is one of the first to arrive. He has a grand vision for the play they should put on, although the ending is a little gruesome for the conservative folks of Gopher Prairie.

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