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Arrowsmith by Sinclair Lewis

“Arrowsmith”, by Sinclair Lewis

In the novel “Arrowsmith”, by Sinclair Lewis, written in

1925, one can read of our world’s lack of idealism in

science, most often found in the medical profession

(Encarta, 1). This book portrays the times in terms of

scientific advancement not being idealistic, mostly in the

medical field. Our scientists could not come up with their

own ideas and our progress was going nowhere, fast.

Although, today we are advancing so rapidly that we have no

choice but to move and experiment, there is no time to slow

down and copy old works. Sinclair Lewis also combines his

life and the life of a graduating microbiologists, who he

interviewed to help him write this book, into his main

character, Dr. Martin Arrowsmith. All of this goes into the

book “Arrowsmith”.

Sinclair lewis was born on the seventh of February, 1885,

in the town of Sauk Centre, Minnesota, to his warmhearted

parents, Emma Kermont Lewis and Dr. Edwin J. Lewis. At a

very young age Sinclair read widely in grade school and

continued on in his studies for many years (Grebstein, 16).

Lewis studied at Yale University form 1903 till 1906. There

he studied literary writings and works to help him become a

writer. His father had disagreed with his career choice,

but he went on and did what he wanted to do most, write. At

one time he was so disgusted with his father that he ran

away and tried to join the Spanish-American War as a

drummer boy (Cobletz, 248). He did not get far; his father

caught him before he left town. Back to collage he went and

even through collage Lewis still read many books. One

professor was quoted as saying “He was drawing more books

from the Yale library than, I believe, any undergraduates

before or since.” Lewis was known to read such books from

authors Hardy, Meredith, James, Howells, Austen, Bronte,

Tolstoy, Pushkin, Turgenev, Gogol, Flaubert, Zola, Huneker,

Pinero, Jones, Shaw, d’Annunzio, Sudermann, Yeats, George

Moore, Nietzsche, Haeckel, Huxley, Moody, Marx, Gorky,

Blake, Pater, Shelley, Keats, Coleridge, Rossetti,

Swinburne, Clough, and Ibsen. All of these authors were

influential to him, but none more than the famous H. G.

Wells (Grebstein 24).

He accomplished all this during college while keeping two

or more jobs at one time and writing for several papers

along with his own books that he wrote. In October of 1906

he left school for a few months and stayed with his brother

in his utopian colony in New Jersey. A few months later he

remembered the work ethics his father taught him and went

back to school and got his degree in 1907.

The Christian Stand Taken in Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe

Stowe’s Christian Stand in Uncle Tom’s Cabin

The nineteenth century proved to be a period of turmoil for women and the role they would play in an ever-changing America. Women contended with not only hard living in the domestic sphere, but were impacted by the undercurrent of slavery issues. The Anti-slavery movement and Women’s rights movement were bringing forth a new dimension of writers taking hard positions on these issues. Harriet Beecher Stowe became one of the country’s most well known writers who bridged these factions together with her famous book, Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Her position was not from the perspective of women’s rights as much as the rights and freedom of slaves. Stowe appealed to the basis of Christian beliefs and maternal instincts more than that of the assertive and vocal Women’s movement. She deftly steps aside from the more liberal feministic ideas, instead focusing on more traditional aspects of the role of women, particularly mothers. It is through this mode that she cries out against the insidiousness of slavery. The role of mother represents not just a domestic maternal figure confined to family, but also a universal figure who is led by Christian beliefs with compassion and empathy towards all who are suffering.

The origins of Harriet Beecher Stowe’s beliefs began as a child. Although her mother died when Harriet was five, her mother left an undeniable impact on her children (Adams 20). The image of Roxena Beecher, Harriet’s mother was of a saintly woman who embodied all aspects of a virtuous loving mother. Roxena Beecher had many children and lived in struggling, difficult conditions, much the way Harriet did when she became a mother. According to one biographer, when Roxena died, “she be…

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…ns, and not one legal right to protect, guide, or educate, the child of her bosom!”(Hedrick401). The weapon of motherhood is Harriet Beecher Stowe’s strongest ally and her most devout companion.

Works Cited

Adams, John R. Harriet Beecher Stowe. New York: Twayne Publishers, Inc. 1963.

Hedrick, Joan D. Harriet Beecher Stowe A Life .New York: Oxford UP, 1994.

Hedrick, Joan D., ed. The Oxford Harriet Beecher Stowe Reader . New York:

Oxford UP, 1999.

Roberson, Susan. The Stowe Debate Rhetorical Strategies in Uncle Tom’s Cabin . Ed. Mason I. Lowance, Ellen E. Westbrook, and R.C De Prospo. Amherst: University of Massachuetts, 1994.

Stowe, Harriet Beecher. ” The Minister’s Wooing.”” Life and Letters of Harriet

Beecher Stowe.” The Heath Anthology of American Literature Gen. Ed.

Paul Lauter. Boston, New York: Houghton Mifflin Co, 1998.

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