Arrowsmith (S.Lewis) Text Analysis

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  • Topic: Sinclair Lewis, Arrowsmith, Comedy
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  • Published : April 13, 2011
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Arrowsmith (By Sinclair Lewis)
Sinclair Lewis is a famous American short-story writer and playwright. He was the first among American writers to receive Nobel Prize in literature “for his vigorous and graphic art of description and his ability to create, with wit and humor, new types of characters." His satirical method is largely based upon grotesque, on a revealing detail, overstatement, understatement, paradox and irony, the works of his pen are known for their insightful and critical views on American society and capitalist values, as well as their vivid characterizations of modern working women.

The excerpt under analysis is dedicated to the description of the college life of an American student Martin Arrowsmith. The fragment speaks volumes about a number of problems that used to exist in the contemporary US society, the society of the beginning of the 20th century. In particular, the imperfection of the system of higher education, what the author vividly highlights by the use of irony in the description of the University Martin, the protagonist, studies at, expressly making it look like an advertisement, with all the impudence and vainglory typical of the educational establishments of renown (“beside this prodigy, Oxford is a tiny theological school and Harward – a select college for gentlemen”). Along with this, Sinclair Lewis emphasizes the role of fraternities in the life of common US college student, putting a considerable stress on the importance of belonging to them, and a consequent wish to really belong (“and tempted by an invitation from Diagamma Pi, the chief medical fraternity”).

Throughout the excerpt, the author’s tone remains to be very sympathetic and slightly humorous when it comes to something, having to do with Martin Arrowsmith. The third-person narration by the omniscient author and the descriptive techniques used provide the reader with a clue to that. Martin Arrowsmith is a young, ambitious man,...
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