Arrowsmith

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Penguin Group, 1998 - Fiction - 459 pages
8 Reviews
Arrowsmith, the most widely read of Sinclair Lewis's novels, is the dramatic portrayal of a man passionately devoted to science. As a bright, lonely boy in a small Midwestern town, Martin Arrowsmith spends his free time in old Doc Vickerson's office avidly devouring medical texts. Destined to become a physician and a researcher, he discovers that societal forces of ignorance, corruption, and greed can be life-threatening obstacles. But he perseveres in his pursuit of scientific truth-even in the face of personal tragedy.Based on a spiritual ideal, Arrowsmith is the story of a visionary, a man of great energy and purpose, courage, dedication, who never loses hope. Lewis's Pulitzer prize-winning novel illuminates the mystery and power of the medical profession while giving enduring dramatic life to a singular American hero's impassioned struggle for integrity and intellectual freedom.

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Appropriate for high school level students. Martin Arrowsmith is a promising young man going to medical school to become a Doctor. The novel touches on the social status of work and the importance America places on occupation. Lewis conveys the importance of making one’s own destiny rather than following societal conformity. 

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Martin Arrowsmith enters med school in the early nineteen hundreds and goes through med school with the ardor of a man pursuing a lifetime dream. When he takes a class on bacteriology, a lifelong passion for research is born.
He meets two women and becomes fond of both. He becomes engaged to both of them and when he introduces them to each other, he realizes that Leora Tozer, a former nursing student, has more in common with him and wants her to be his wife.
After medical school, he moves to North Dakota, to Leora's family's home. Here he begins a family practice. It is intereting to see the views of middle America toward alcohol consumption, gambling, pharmaceutical drugs and life in general. After attempting to win over these farmers but still true to his ideas of medicine, he moves to the city for more freedom and a better hospital.
Thus he beings a period of his life where he moves from position to position, always looking for the right situation. He finally gets a job with research and later on works toward a cure for bubonic plague.
Interesting view of America at the time and good characters but at times a bit off the topic.
 

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About the author (1998)

Sinclair Lewis was born in 1885 in Sauk Centre, Minnesota, and graduated from Yale University in 1908. His college career was interrupted by various part-time occupations, including a period working at the Helicon Home Colony, Upton Sinclair's socialist experiment in New Jersey. He worked for some years as a free lance editor and journalist, during which time he published several minor novels. But with the publication of Main Street (1920), which sold half a million copies, he achieved wide recognition. This was followed by the two novels considered by many to be his finest, Babbitt (1922) and Arrowsmith (1925), which was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in 1926, but declined by Lewis. In 1930, following Elmer Gantry (1927) and Dodsworth (1929), Sinclair Lewis became the first American author to be awarded the Nobel Prize for distinction in world literature. This was the apogee of his literary career, and in the period from Ann Vickers (1933) to the posthumously published World So Wide (1951) Lewis wrote ten novels that reveal the progressive decline of his creative powers. From Main Street to Stockholm, a collection of his letters, was published in 1952, and The Man from Main Street, a collection of essays, in 1953. During his last years Sinclair Lewis wandered extensively in Europe, and after his death in Rome in 1951 his ashes were returned to his birthplace.
E.L. Doctorow, one of America's preeminent authors, has received the National Book Critics Circle Award (twice), the National Book Award, the Pen/Faulkner Award, the Edith Wharton Citation For Fiction, and the William Dean Howells medal of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He has also published a volume of selected essays Jack London, Hemingway, and the Constitution, and a play, Drinks Before Dinner, which was produced by the New York Shakespeare Festival. He resides in New Rochelle, New York.

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