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Arrowsmith: A review

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  1. Reason, type and setting
  2. Plot
    1. Arrowsmith as promising student
    2. Chance at salvation
  3. Character
  4. Evaluation and author context

Arrowsmith, by Sinclair Lewis, is a sprawling examination of 1920s America. The author employed his hero of sorts as the vehicle through which he conveyed his distaste for the commercialism that had captured and, in his eyes, corrupted the nation. In order to accomplish this feat, Lewis created the character of Martin Arrowsmith, a would be purist scientist utterly devoted to his research as opposed to commercial and even humanitarian utilization of results. Ultimately, a story of personal redemption, even through means that might initially appear immoral, was presented as analogous to the path that America must follow if it is to reclaim its former greatness.

[...] Though she might have had her faults and jealousies, she was, at least to Martin, the only woman truly worth the time one invests in a relationship. Evaluation/Author Context: After reading the poorly written, though thought provoking, It Can't Happen Here any chance of my voluntarily selecting a third Sinclair Lewis novel is finished. Lewis seems caught between philosopher and author and in his indecision does neither well. Though he provides ideas and quotes worth discussing, he does so in such a fashion that it is rarely worth the wait and effort required to wade through the vague meandering style the author chooses to write with. [...]

[...] Though he initially records success, his wife's untimely death due to the plague throws him into a bout of depression and alcoholic self medication. He is rescued only by the sight of a new, wealthy, woman who he proceeds to marry and father a child with while once more returning to the high paying institute as acting director. Despite what appears to be grand success, Martin cannot stand the figure he cuts and renounces all that is symbolic of his failures in his attempts to remain a purist and deserts his wife and son in favor of backwoods experimentation. [...]

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