Study Guide

Main Street Chapter 6

By Harry Sinclair Lewis

Chapter 6

  • Carol vents her boredom by completely redecorating Will's home and giving it an edgy Japanese vibe. (Japanese patterns and furniture were all the rage back in the early 20th century.) Once she's done, Will admits that it's nicer than it was before.
  • Everyone in the town snoops around the redecorating and gossips about it. A neighbor named Mrs. Bogart is especially nosy: she comes over to visit and says some passive-aggressive, judgmental things about Carol's morals, and Carol is glad when she leaves.
  • As time goes by, Carol quickly learns that she hates asking her husband for money. She especially hates the way the men of the town make fun of women for always spending so much.
  • Carol quickly decides that she needs a set allowance in order to make budgets and control her spending.
  • Meanwhile, Mrs. Bogart's sniping comments about the price of Carol's new furniture has made Carol self-consciously cheap. She does everything she can to save money around her house.
  • When it comes to her first housewarming party, though, Carol goes all out with the expenses.
  • Meanwhile, Will starts to feel like a stranger in his own house. Whenever he gets home from work, he feels like Carol is nagging him.
  • At first, Carol's party is lively, but soon the gravitational pull of Gopher Prairie takes over, and the party becomes boring. Vida whispers to Carol that she should ask Raymie Wutherspoon to sing because he has a beautiful voice. Carol gives the go-ahead only to find that Raymie's voice is awful. It's just good enough for people in Gopher Prairie to think it's good.
  • Carol gets everyone to play a scandalous game in the dark where people try to steal each other's shoes. When the lights come back on, people are freed from their usual reserve and everyone starts giggling. Carol is optimistic that she can get these people to loosen up.
  • Next, Carol asks everyone to put on some Asian-inspired outfits and to pretend that they are from Asia instead of Minnesota. Her good time is ruined when her husband Will tells her not to cross her legs, because her costume shows too much of her knees.
  • When the party is over, Will congratulates Carol on having a party that got people out of their shells. He's hopeful that she'll be able to change the attitudes of the whole town.
  • But after a week, Carol's party is forgotten. The next party at another person's house is just as boring as any party before Carol arrived in Gopher Prairie.

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