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Sinclair Lewis was born on February 7th, 1885 in the small town of Sauk Centre Minnesota as
the youngest member in a family of three boys. His father, like the protagonist of the
Arrowsmith, was a doctor who had amassed a reasonable fortune and believed in the ethics of
rules and hard work, which later displayed itself in Lewis' writing habits. Lewis, when writing a
novel, always maintained a rigid writing schedule that consisted of long hours and much
As a boy, growing up in Sauk Centre, Lewis was bookish and somewhat awkward, though not
all-together unpopular in high school. His town of Sauk Centre appears over and over again in
Lewis' satire of provincial small-town American life, as seen for instance, in Main Street,
Lewis' first major success. Sauk Centre also shows itself in the form of Wheatsylvania in
Arrowsmith. And, although Martin Arrowsmith, the protagonist of the novel, is more of a
laboratory scientist than a physician, Lewis has Martin become the small-town doctor his father
had been, if only for a while.
Lewis graduated from high school in 1902 and went to Oberlin for a year in preparation for
Yale. During the fall of his senior year, Lewis left Yale and joined Upton Sinclair's
writer/painter colony at Helicon Hall in Englewood, New Jersey, only to return to Yale and
graduate in 1908. Between 19081915, Lewis traveled and held a number of freelance and
editorial positions and published his first novel in 1912, entitled: Hike and the Aeroplane,
under the pseudonym of Tom Graham. It is not until 1920, however, when Main Street was
published, that Lewis becomes an established writer. After which, Lewis went on to write wellknown and well-received novels like Babbitt and Arrowsmith. Arrowsmith is often said to be
Lewis's best novel and is the novel for which he won the Pulitzer Prizea prize which he
declined because of the terms of the award. The Pulitzer was said to be given for the
"wholesome atmosphere of American life," and Lewis, the Satirist of Modern America, was not
about to accept such an ironic award. Nevertheless, Lewis was to go on and receive other
honors and, in 1930, became the first American to win the Nobel Prize in literature.
After 1930, his novels declined, and, in 1951, Lewis died of heart disease in Rome. His ashes
were buried in his small, American town of Sauk Centre, which he immortalized in love and
It is interesting to note that Arrowsmith was published in the same year as F. Scott Fitzgerald's
The Great Gatsby. However, Fitzgerald and Lewis could not be more different, although they
wrote in and portrayed the same era. Both men lived in a world between wars and in between a
post-war economic boom and The Great Depression, yet their portraits of America could not be
more different. Lewis's world was not the "Jazz Age" of Fitzgerald's "roaring twenties" full of
flappers and parties, it was that of the businessman, the doctor, the provincial man. Lewis was a
romantic in many ways as well as a gifted satirist and realist. And, in many ways, Arrowsmith,
when juxtaposed against Fitzgerald's world, is an optimistic novel, imbued with romance and a
significant amount of faith in its protagonist, Martin Arrowsmith.

Plot Overview
Martin Arrowsmith, the novel's protagonist, is born and raised in the small Midwestern town of
Elk Mills where he develops an interest in science and spends his free hours reading through
Gray's Anatomy and other books in the office of the town's doctor, Doc Vickerson. This early
education is supplemented when he goes off to college and eventually becomes a medical
student at the University of Winnemac, where he meets his life-time mentor, Max Gottlieb, a
German professor committed to laboratory science and research.
While in medical school, Martin dates a girl named Madeleine Fox, a snobbish, educated
doctoral student of literature and becomes engaged to her, only to leave her later for Leora
Tozer, a down-to-earth nurse in training, whom he will love and live with until the end of her
life. Also, while at Winnemac, under the wing of Gottlieb, Martin develops a deep-rooted love
for the laboratory and lashes out against "commercialism" and the faults of the practicing
physician versus the ideals of true science and research. Nevertheless, Martin, after graduating
from Winnemac, must abandon his "true science" because he has married Leora and now has a
wife to support.
Martin and Leora move to Leora's hometown of Wheatsylvania where Martin becomes a
country doctor about whom the townspeople gossip. Although he is at times successful, he
never gains the trust of the community as a whole and loses a patient, in his early days. Leora
also has a miscarriage during their time in Wheatsylvania. Feeling as though he has failed in
Wheatsylvania, Martina and Leora move to Nautilus, a city in the Midwest.
In Nautilus, Martin becomes a public health physician, working under Dr. Pickerbaugh, who is
more of a salesman than a doctor and who writes verses about hygiene and cleanliness. After
being unhappy in Nautilus, Martin is called to the Rouncefield Clinic in Chicago to work with
his medical school colleague, with whom he had always been in competition, Angus Duer. His
work as a pathologist in the Rouncefield Clinic, however, also proves disheartening given that
the Clinic is a playground for doctors who care more for money than anything else.
It is at this point that Martin comes to the attention of Max Gottlieb once again. Gottlieb, who
is working at the prestigious McGurk Research Institute in New York (modeled after the
Rockefeller Institute in New York), invites Martin to join the research team. He is glad to
finally have his chance at laboratory science, the "true science" he had had to abandon. Martin
is happy there until he begins to be rushed in his study and work. The heads of the Institute
begin to pry into his research in order to apply pressure on Martin to publish and "sell" his
work. While at the institute, however, Martin comes across a huge triumph in his research, the
isolation of a bacteriophage that seems to kill pneumonia and plague.
Although there is some initial disappointment at finding out that much of his research had
already been done and published by another scientist, Martin decides to further his research and
is successful in his continuations. Martin is later sent to test his discovery in the Caribbean
island of St. Hubert, which is infested with plague. Martin agrees to conduct his experimental
research on the quarantined island of St. Hubert. Leora accompanies him.

On the island of St. Hubert, Martin is meant to conduct further research on the phage in order to
understand it better, and he does, in fact, seem to cure the people of the plague. However, the
research conducted on the island is not altogether precise because Martin had given up on his
work for a time, after the tragedy of his wife's (Leora) death due to the plague. Martin goes
through a period of mourning in which he abandons his research, a period which he will later be
upset by and consider a failure on his behalf.
It is also on the island that Martin meets Joyce Lanyon, an immensely wealthy woman whom
he marries when he returns to New York, after Leora's death. Martin, however, cannot grow
fully accustomed to his new wife's rich ways and finds himself, once again, unhappy. He,
therefore, abandons her and his child with her in order to retreat into the woods with Terry
Wickett, his friend and colleague from the McGurk Institute. The book ends with Martin and
Terry's plan to build a laboratory in Terry's home in the woods so that they may be left to do
the important research they so love and need without the commercial pressure imposed by
department heads and the presidents of institutes.

Character List
Martin Arrowsmith - The novel's title character and protagonist, Martin is a curious young
man whose life in the medical profession makes up the plot of the book. He is stubborn and
inclined toward laboratory science, rather than the practice of being a physician. He has
opposing characteristics and can be both cold and compassionate, both driven and easily
swayed. Furthermore, he is a romantic at heart.
Read an in-depth analysis of Martin Arrowsmith.
Doctor Vickerson - A country doctor in Elk Mills, Doc Vickerson was Martin's first
introduction to the world of medicine. The doctor is not an all-together educated man although
he is supportive of Martin. And, although Doc Vickerson is an alcoholic, he is not altogether
Max Gottlieb - A German Jew, Max Gottlieb is Martin's mentor. He is a scientist rather than
a physician. He is often seen as eccentric and as cold or lacking in compassion although he does
have a deep belief in Martin. A patient man, he is utterly driven by a search for "truth" and is
fully committed to the study of science.
Read an in-depth analysis of Max Gottlieb.
Madeleine Fox - A graduate student at Winnemac University, Madeleine Fox attends the
same college as Martin. She eventually becomes his fianc, but is what Martin calls an
"improver." She is a snobbish student of literature who tries to change people, including
Martin, to fit her beliefs and her society.
Fatty Pfaff - One of Martin's fellow medics, Fatty Pfaff tries his hardest to learn and yet he
does not have the brightest mind at Winnemac. In fact, Fatty is the archetypal nice, yet dumb,
guy at the University. He eventually becomes an obstetrician.
Ira Hinkley - A classmate of Martin's, Ira Hinkley is a preacher who tries to impose his
religious beliefs on others. His path crosses Martin's more than once and he eventually betrays
Martin. He believes he is doing "good" but is arrogant in his beliefsmost of which are
narrow-minded, superior-minded, and colonial.
Angus Duer - A good student and successful surgeon, Angus Duer was Martin's rival at
medical school. He is a hard worker and always achieves that for which he strives. He believes
in success and is the opposite of Martin in many ways.
Clif Clawson - The class jester, Clif Clawson, resigns from medical school and becomes a car
salesman. He is unorthodox in his business and, in the end, too different from Martin to remain
his friend.
Leora Tozer - Martin's loyal wife, Leora is opinionated and yet completely supportive and
understanding of Martin and his career. She is caring and although ambitionless herself, she is
loving and a perfect fit for Martin.
Read an in-depth analysis of Leora Tozer.
Dean Silva - The compassionate physician, Dean Silva is supportive of Martin and epitomizes
the "good doctor." He is caring and believes more in the practice of medicine than in research.

Dr. A Dewitt Tubbs - The director of the McGurk Institute and later a leading member of the
League of Cultural Agencies, Tubbs stands for everything that Martin opposes. He believes
wholeheartedly in competition and, not in the individual, but in "cooperation." He is one of the
many "salesmen" in the medical industry that exist in the novel. He is criticized by Martin for
not being as intelligent as someone in his position should be.
Gustaf Sondelius - Neither a laboratory man nor a physician exactly, Sondelius is a one-man
army against disease. A captivating speaker, he is compulsive and adventuresome, and yet,
often compassionate.
Dr. Almus Pickerbaugh - The subject of a great deal of Lewis's satire, Pickerbaugh is the
Director of the Department of Public Health in the small city of Nautilus. He campaigns for
cleanliness and writes bad poetry about Health and sanitation for his daughters (whom he has
named the "Healthette Octette") to sing. He is a great salesman and commercialist.
Orchid Pickerbaugh - The oldest daughter of Almus Pickerbaugh, Orchid is a young,
flirtatious, and beautiful girl who Martin becomes enamored of Martin and admires his
eccentricities and intelligence.
Dr. Rippleton Holabird - A department head at McGurk, Holabird has very much the same
business mind-set as Tubbs. He believes in competition and success and eventually joins the
League of Cultural Agencies with Tubbs. He constantly brags about an old war wound and
becomes another foil for Martin's personality.
Pearl Robbins - The secretary to Dr. A DeWitt Tubbs at the institute, Miss Pearl Robbins is a
beautiful woman who joins the men in competition. From being Tubbs's assistant, she has
learned the "business" and even attempts to attain the directorship when Tubbs resigns. When
Gottlieb is head of the institute, she basically runs it because of Gottlieb's lack of attention in
commercial matters.
Terry Wickett - A laboratory scientist much like Gottlieb, Terry Wickett is completely
committed to his work. He does not have a family or much of a social life because of this
commitment. He is the extreme of what Martin could be, and by the end of the novel he
becomes the symbol of freedom and independence. He is very much an individual in a world of
"collaborators" and he strives always for what he believes. He is stubborn and thought of as
cold, though he and Martin have an "understanding" of each other and are, in fact comrades by
the end.
Joyce Lanyon - The second wife of Martin Arrowsmith, Joyce Lanyon is a rich woman with
whom Martin does not have very much in common. She is a high class "arranger" and a widow
who spends her time frivolously and goes to Africa to "save primitive art."

Analysis of Major Characters

Martin Arrowsmith
The title character of the Arrowsmith is Martin Arrowsmith, a young man whose curiosity and
stubbornness make him perfect for the realm of scientific research. And yet, Martin becomes
distracted and often sways from his path. He is constantly criticizing the commercialism of the
medical profession as well as the "machines" that are made in the medical school "mills."
And yet, Martin is, himself, tempted by the very things he criticizes: money, success, fame,
notoriety, respect. When, for example, Martin is forced to make a speech in Nautilus, Martin
thrives on the respect of the audiences and gets quite a thrill from the applause. It is Leora that
has to bring him down to Earth. Later, Martin, seems to ease in to the lap of luxury, taking
limousine rides to work, for example, while he is married to Joyce Lanyon. And yet, though
Martin sways and attempts to fit into high class society, into Joyce's lifestyle, and into the
world of institutions and social gatherings, Martin is nonetheless always an outsider and only
truly happy when he is able to work in the lab.
Martin's curiosity for science and "truth" begins at an early age, and it is what Gottlieb so
praises in him. This curiosity is what saves him and keeps him going, even if he occasionally
ventures off his track. Martin holds within him a plethora of contradictions that are difficult to
fuse, and this is epitomized by his love for both Dean Silva ("the good doctor") and Max
Gottlieb (the stern and unrelenting scientist). These contradictions are also exhibited in
Martin's love for Leora in spite of the temptation of girls like Orchid and Joyce. His name
encompasses all of these contradictions. The name Arrowsmith, upon first reading, may seem
to recall only the "arrow." The reader believes that the name is meant to symbolize a straight
and stubborn path. Yet, Martin's name is not Arrow, it is Arrowsmith, representing the person
(craftsman) who makes the arrowsthe person who melds it out of difficult steel or iron.
Further, because this is a novel of a single man's education and personal development, this
name suits Martin because it illustrates that Martin is "learning" how to make his arrows and
how to create that straight path out of the contradictions and the tough iron that life gives him.
Max Gottlieb
The symbol of pure science throughout the novel, Max Gottlieb stands out as Martin's greatest
mentor in the novel, and yet, Gottlieb remains one of the saddest as well. Gottlieb is a German
Jew, dedicated to the practice of research, a practice that he illustrates with the utmost patience,
diligence, and belief. He is seen as an eccentric and is talked about in gossip rings everywhere
he turns. He is, of course, German, and in the early twentieth century Americans believed that
most "true scientific" research, at least that which was of great importance, came from
Germany. Lewis makes Gottlieb German for this reason and also for the reason that it places
him as an "outsider" of the utmost extreme, completely lacking a place in society. Gottlieb does
not fit into the medical world because he believes in perfection and is angered by mediocrity
and commercialism. Lewis adds to this the fact that he is not only European, but German in the
middle of a wave of American anti-German sentiment from World War I. And, not only is he
German but he is a Jew, always an "outsider," expelled from this place and that.

And thus, Gottlieb is the eccentric scientist with the cold heart except that he is not altogether
cold, for he does love Martin in his own way, just as he loves his daughter, Miriam, and had
come to depend on his wife. And yet, it is important to realize that there is a certain coldness in
Gottlieb's aloneness. He is a lonely man who is destined to be unhappy. Life hands him
miseries and though he has made important discoveries, he remains somewhat unappreciated.
And, finally, he ends a senile old man. His genius is eradicated from him through a sad senility,
and he is left with nothing except his daughter's undying care.
We may ask what it is that Lewis is trying to say by painting such a dim portrait. Perhaps he is
saying that the scientist is doomed to failure, perhaps he is saying that extremes do not work
and that Martin needs to find a balance. Perhaps he is simply romanticizing the self-sacrifice of
the "truth seeker." Or, perhaps Lewis had to simply remove Gottlieb from the narrative so that
Martin could be truly free. It seems that all these things are true.
Leora Tozer
When the reader first meets Leora, she is a sharp-tongued and witty nurse in training, ready to
rebuff Martin's arrogance. She is a working, down-to-earth woman with a mind of her own. And
yet as the novel progresses she seems to become less forceful. She gives up nursing although
she does take up stenography, and she seems, at times, ambitious and self-effacing, giving her
life over to her love for Martin.
There is no doubt of Leora's love, faithfulness, and support for Martin. She is always willing to
move for his work and she understands his need to be a "laboratory man." In fact she often
accompanies his sleepless nights at work. It is true that Leora gives up her career for Martin,
but, then again, from the beginning she had claimed that she did not have much ambition and
did not really have a passion for nursing. However, it would be unfair to say that Leora loses
her strength as the novel progresses because she never loses a moment's chance to tell her
husband exactly how she feels. She also is constantly reminding him of who he is, and their
marriage is one of true companionship and love, despite Martin's temptations elsewhere
(Orchid and Joyce).
As the novel progresses it becomes apparent that Martin cannot live without Leora. He is
constantly thinking of his need for her and his gratitude towards her. And yet, it was because of
Leora that Martin had to give up the lab initially and move to Wheatsylvania. And, further, it is
not until Leora dies that Martin is able to raise himself up in courage against the institutes he
has worked for and join Terry Wickett in his independence.

Themes, Motifs, and Symbols

The Corruption Within American Medicine

In the early 1920's, around 1922 or so, Sinclair Lewis met a man named Paul De Kruif who had
worked for the Rockefeller Institute and who had published a series of articles in Century
magazine attacking the practices of modern American medicine. Lewis, in his novel
Arrowsmith takes the torch carried by De Kruif who had to leave the Rockefeller Institute
because of his critique.
It was the early twenties, and America was living through an economic boom from the war,
where everything was becoming more commercialAmerican businesses were booming. And,
further, even practices like medicine were becoming "businesses." The consequences of
medicine becoming a business is what Lewis criticizes, specifically the commercialism and
competition that exist within the profession and which seem to contradict its nature. Instead of
being a practice of altruism, discovery, and healing, medicine had become something
institutions needed to sell. Lewis uses the Rouncefield Institute, the Public Health Department
of Nautilus, and the McGurk institute as vehicles of satire in order to criticize the real
institutions that existed in America at this time. In many ways the novel was educating the
American public about the maladies of medicine in the early twentieth century.
The Plight of the Scientist

Martin Arrowsmith is a laboratory man, not a physician. The juxtaposition of the laboratory
man and the physician are present throughout and are epitomized in the characters of Gottlieb
and Dean Silva, respectively. The physician is a public figure and, depending on where he
practices, is often trusted and a minor celebrity. The doctor because he heals is therefore
generally admired (when he is a good doctor). The scientist, however, is a solitary person, a
lonely person. The scientist must work alone in the laboratory, and when he makes discoveries
usually only a small sector of the world is aware of it. Sometimes the scientist goes
unrecognized for years, as Gottlieb had gone. Further still, if we are to surmise that Gottlieb is
to represent "the scientist," then we come to the conclusion that the scientist has a solitary,
exhausted, and unhappy end. The plight of the scientist is therefore a difficult one.
And yet, Martin seems, to be able to accept the "failures" that exist in his profession, where he
will always be an outsider and never a "success." In fact, he seems almost able to embrace the
likelihood of "failure," and it is in the acceptance of the romanticized "plight of the scientist"
that the book ends in an ironically optimistic fashion.
The Salvation Found in Retreat

Throughout the novel Martin finds his peace, his happiness, and his adventurous thrills while
he is alone in the laboratory. Solitude and retreat become his true companions, aside from
Leora whom Martin knows so well that he can be alone even while with her. As soon as Martin
becomes a social being, as soon as he accepts luxury and the idea of "success," he begins to

stray from his path and eventually becomes unhappy without the solitude of his laboratory
Many of the characters we come to like, moreover, are lonely figures: Martin, Terry, and
Gottlieb, for instance. Many of the characters we are meant to dislike are very social beings:
Tubbs and Holabird, for instance. Moreover, this solitude and retreat is romanticized and even
elevated in a Thoreau-like fashion by the time we reach the end. In the end, Martin moves to
the woods with Terry Wickett, where they will create a laboratory all their own. There is a
"salvation" in this "retreat," for Martin has finally accepted the power of independence. This
retreat is what makes the novel optimistic; Martin is finally able to flee form the social and
commercial department heads that hinder his true work.
Science Versus Religion

Religion and science seem as if they are opposing forces in the novel, and yet a person like Ira
Hinkley lives between both of these forces. Also, both Gottlieb and Martin are seen "praying"
in their own ways. Religion requires faith and science requires doubt. Still both of these entities
(religion and science) are belief systems, which is what, paradoxically, makes them so similar
in their opposition.
There is no doubt that Lewis is criticizing the overzealous Christians like Ira Hinkley, who, in
their arrogance and extremes, diminish in the eyes of the viewer. And yet, it is important to
realize that the overzealous scientist is also reduced in the novel: Gottlieb ends in a poor and
senile state. There are no real conclusions to draw from the opposition of religion and science
throughout only that they are similar in their capacities for extremes and in their power. Also, it
becomes important that the scientist accept this struggle just as he must accept all the other
struggles that exist in his "plight."
Men of Measured Merriment

Men like Holabird and Tubbs (and the sector of the medical world they represent) seem
"happy," and yet they are what Martin calls "Men of Measured Merriment." Martin believes
that their happiness is measured because it is the happiness that comes with social success and
the profits reaped in "business," not Martin's ideal for greatness and discovery. The happiness
that comes out of a superficial success does not compare, for Martin, to the solitary success of
discovering something that may become a cure or that may help in the search for fundamental
understandings. And thus, these "machines," as Martin implies that they are, are measured in
their happiness, just as they are measured in everything they do in life. They are proper,
correct, successful, and richthey are everything they are "supposed" to be and yet they are
hypocritical and often times dangerous to Martin and others' own search for "truth."
The Idea of Success

Gottlieb tells Martin that he will be lucky if he is not successful because success ruins the
scientist. Success would diminish the laboratory scientist to the level of the "men of measured
merriment." To insult Martin, Gottlieb calls him a "college president" among other things,

illustrating his contempt for "success." The greatest reason for this contempt is that it is a
temptation from ones true calling. This is, of course, another element of Lewis's romance and is
comparable to the painter or writer that writes magical verse or creates masterpieces on canvas
but never sells a line or stroke and dies in poverty with their greatness unknown to man.
The Magnifying Glass

Doc Vickerson, in the first chapter of the novel, gives Martin a gift to "start his training." This
gift is a magnifying glass. This is important because it represents the keen eye and curiosity
that both the physician and the scientist must have. It represents the careful and deep
observation that Gottlieb lectures to Martin about over and over again. Although Doc
Vickerson is, himself, a kind of failure in his alcoholism, his gift is nevertheless laden with
significance, elevating Vickerson to the status of man who has had "influence" on the reader's
Terry Wickett

Terry is the symbol of what Martin could be, and he represents the kind of man that Martin is,
in fact, by the end of the novel, the man that Martin follows. He represents the careful scientist
who is willing to give everything up for his work. He is Martin without the temptations that
have led him astray and, thus, is the true kin of Gottlieb.
The Centrifuge

Gladys the centrifuge at the McGurk institute is Holabird's pride and joy. She is an expensive
piece of machinery and the best of her kind and, thus, represents the commercialism and
competition present in American medicine.

Chapters 13

Chapter 1
The novel begins with a brief vignette about Martin Arrowsmith's great- grandmothera
pioneer who wanted to see the world. She is "going west" in her wagon, with her mother dead
and her father ill but remaining steadfast, nevertheless.
After this brief, one-paragraph episode, Sinclair Lewis begins the story of Martin Arrowsmith.
When the reader first meets him he is fourteen and sitting in Doc Vickerson's office reading
Gray's Anatomy in the small town of Elk Mills, Winnemac. Martin's father heads the New York
Clothing Bazaar, but Martin prefers to spend his time with the doctor, reading his books and
looking at the specimens of Doc Vickerson's museum of medical oddities. And, in fact, Lewis
informs the reader that Martin, at the young age of fourteen, has become the doctor's unofficial
Doc Vickerson is an old widower who is fond of the drink. His office is not very clean, and the
doctor is portrayed as somewhat of a mess who calls himself a failure. Nevertheless, he
encourages Martin in the direction of education, knowledge, and medicine. And, by the end of
the chapter, Doc Vickerson has given Martin the gift of a magnifying glass.
Chapter 2
It is 1904, and Martin is a junior in college, preparing for Medical school at the University of
Winnemac, which is fifteen miles from the largest city in Winnemac (Zenith). He appears to be
a fairly handsome though thin boy that the girls all call "romantic"; he is also quite shy.
Martin has forgotten Doc Vickerson and Elk Mills and is completely enthralled by his life at
the university. His new idol is the head of the chemistry department named Edward Edwards,
whom all the students call "Encore." Martin is impressed by his knowledge and, mid chapter,
finds himself at one of Edwards's "At Homes," where students and faculty confer and discuss.
During this meeting, the strange German, Jewish professor Max Gottlieb comes up in
conversation. Gottlieb is known for his brilliant and difficult-to-understand research in
Immunology and is shrouded with campus rumors and mystery that excites Martin. After the
gathering, Martin goes to the medical school campus and sees Max Gottlieb leaving the lab late
at night and is taken in a gust of admiration.
Soon after, Martin enters medical school feeling superior and yet, nervous. He goes to Gottlieb
and tells the professor that he would like to take his bacteriology class, but Gottlieb tells him
that he must come back the next year after he has taken physical chemistry. Martin is
disappointed and thinks about his encounter with Gottlieb, and he begins to wonder if Edward
Edwards was really as intelligent as he had once thought. Furthermore, Martin has begun to
question "truth."
Lewis then begins his description of the world of the University of Winnemac Medical School.

Ira Hinkley, for instance, is Martin's dissecting partner, a twenty-nine-year-old medic who
wants to become a medical missionary and who preaches and attempts to convert everyone he
meets. Martin is also a member of a fraternityDigamma Pi, the chief medical fraternity
where the characters that will make up his life while in school emerge. The members of the
fraternity include one Angus Duer, whom Martin both hates and envies for his determination
and intelligence. Fatty Pfaff, another member of the fraternity is a gullible freshman who is not
very smart. Then there are Clif Clawson and Irving Watters, who, along with Fatty Pfaff, room
with Martin. Clif is the school's clown whom Martin quite likes, and Irving Watters is simply
Chapter 3
Martin's circle of friends (listed above) is constantly involved in discussions about what makes
a good doctor. Martin arises as the cynic of the group who insults the way the medical school is
run with all its mechanical memorization and striving for commercialism. He expresses his
views often with his classmates and with Madeleine Fox, a girl he had gone to college with and
has re- discovered in "medical school." Madeleine remained at the university in order to take
up doctoral classes in literature. Martin believes that he loves her.
After exams, Martin looks forward to Gottlieb's bacteriology class after the summer and goes
off to his summer job, installing telephones in Montana.

The introductory vignette about Martin Arrowsmith's great-grandmother sets the attempted
scope of the novel. By going so far back in time, Lewis is telling us that his novel will be a kind
of epic, while at the same time foreshadowing the life of Martin Arrowsmith himself. Martin's
great-grandmother, "the pioneer," has suffered in that she has lost her mother at the age of
fourteen and is driving a wagon across the Ohio wilderness. Yet, she is determined. When her
sick father, who is lying limp in the back of the wagon, tells her she should slow down, she
refuses to and says she is going to keep going west because there are "a whole lot of new things
[she] aim[s] to be seeing!" This pioneer spirit will become evident within Martin Arrowsmith
as the book progresses. And just as tragedy has befallen his great-grandmother, it will also
befall Martin.
These beginning chapters also set the stage of Martin's background. He is a young, American
boy living in the early 1900s who aspires to be a doctor. And, along with settings, characters
are introducedlively, yet archetypal characters. It becomes evident, early on, that Lewis is a
caricaturist. Doc Vickerson is the epitome of the country doctor; Clif Clawson, with his
practical jokes, is the class clown; Ira Hinkley is the religious one of the group and so on. Even
the names are caricatures. For example: Angus Duer. Angus's last name "Duer" befits his
personality because he is a "do-er," doing everything with utmost skill and determined to
realize his goals in silence; not so much saying as "doing." Martin, on the other hand, talks and
talks. He becomes a cynic and is constantly raving against "commercialism" and the
mechanical teaching ways of the university.
This tendency toward archetype is very much a part of Lewis's style, which is a mix of realism

and satire. From the beginning we realize that there are many things about the medical
profession and American society in general, which Lewis is criticizing. He calls the university
a mill, as if it were a machine that produces people like products, taught how to behave and
speak and act within educated society.
It is important, however, to realize that another reason for the use of "types" in the novel is that
this is not a novel about many characters; instead it is the journey of one man. It is a
bildungsroman: the personal education and development of a single person (Martin
Arrowsmith, in this case). Moreover, other characters are both a vehicle for satire and a way for
Lewis to provide further create the character of Martin, either by placing these other characters
in juxtaposition or through a connection to him.
Furthermore, as a side-note, Zenith, the largest city in Winnemac, is also the city in which the
character of Babbitt from Lewis's earlier novel entitled Babbitt lives. This is a device that
Lewis is using out of cleverness and also for the purpose of tying the themes of his novels

Chapters 46

Chapter 4
Martin finally finds himself in Max Gottlieb's bacteriology class. Gottlieb, during his lecture,
shows himself to be a highly knowledgeable and intelligent man, taking from science,
literature, and philosophy. Most of the students do not have a great affinity for Gottlieb, and, at
most, they find him useful and admirable as is illustrated by the discussion the students have
about the professor after his class. However, Martin can relateto him and to what he does in his
laboratory. He imagines himself working the way Gottlieb works.
He is quite happy in Gottlieb's bacteriology class, and he begins to work late nights in the
laboratory. Gottlieb sees him working late one night and invites him to join him for some
sandwiches. The sandwiches seem wonderful and foreign to Martin, and he loses himself in the
experiences that Gottlieb recounts to him. The two men forge a kind of friendship or a
tutorial/mentor relationship. Gottlieb tells him of the times he spent in London and Stockholm,
he tells him of Marseilles. He tells him also of his children and encourages Martin. Gottlieb
notes that he will probably not make a good physician but, instead, a good laboratory scientist.
Chapter 5
Completely enthralled in bacteriology, Martin becomes humbled as to the amount of
knowledge he does not yet have. He shows himself to be rebellious in medical classes, to
professors, and in conversations with friends and even considers dropping medicine and
specializing in bacteriology.
He feels as though he has no one to speak with about this turmoil inside of him. He cannot
speak to Clif, his roommate, because Clif rarely takes anything seriously, and so he finds a
willing ear in Madeleine, who is always "sympathetic and sensible." Martin believes that
Madeleine truly understands him and decides that he wants to marry her.
Madeleine is, however, not all together perfect. She is what Martin calls an "improver," a
woman who is always trying to "improve" or change her man in the ways of vocabulary, taste,
etc. Still, Madeleine, in her good moments opens up to him and, one time in particular, admits
that she herself is "ordinary" despite all her appearances and her "bluffing." Martin proposes to
Madeleine and even promises to become the "successful" doctor he has, until this point,
adamantly criticized, in order so that they may have everything they want.
Their relationship continues to have its ups and downs, even after the proposal. Martin
promises Clif that he will work as a waiter with Clif during the summer at a hotel in Canada, a
promise to which Madeleine snobbishly opposes. She does not want him to be a lowly waiter.
They break off their engagement twice. The last time happens right before Martin leaves with
Clif for the summer. And although he has broken up with Madeleine, Martin is excited for the
coming year because Gottlieb has appointed him as an undergraduate assistant.

Chapter 6
During the summer in the Canadian hotel, Martin and Madeleine write to each other, and by
mid-summer they are re-engaged.
Martin begins his own research, and his sense of observation and curiosity is encouraged, once
again, by Gottlieb, with whom he works. At one point, Gottlieb asks Martin to run a laboratory
errand for him and go to Zenith General Hospital to obtain a specimen. It is here that he meets
a seemingly impertinent and strong-minded nurse named Leora, whom he later gets to know
and begins to like.
Leora, a girl from Dakota, tells Martin about her background and herself and Martin begins to
develop a serious affection for her. He proposes to her and finds himself engaged to two women
at once. Not knowing how to solve his dilemma, or how to choose between them, Martin invites
them both to lunch at the same time leaving them to decide for him. Madeleine is insulted and
leaves him, whereas Leora stays and commits herself to him. She claims that she will not leave
him despite the seeming foolishness of staying with him. She tells him, however, that he now
belongs to her and cannot go around with other women. Martin finds himself very happy at the
way things turned out.

In these chapters appears one of the major conflicts in the novel, which is the struggle of the
physician versus the struggle of the laboratory scientist. Martin's classmates all seem to belong
to the "physician" category, most of them wanting to be successful and wealthy doctors. Others
simply want to help people, such as the Reverend Ira Hinkley claims. But Martin finds himself
an outsider. He is not like his classmates in that he does not view success in the same light; in
fact he continuously rages against it. He is, instead, a laboratory man. He loves Max Gottlieb,
who is the consummate symbol of the laboratory/research side of science.
Not only does Martin admire Gottlieb, but he loves the idea of him because Martin is, after all,
filled with idealistic and romantic notions of the scientist working late at night in his lab, in
search of the truth. Lewis, from the beginning of the novel, is trying to illustrate and criticize
the problems that exist within the medical profession, which are problems that begin to arise
even while Martin is still in medical school. Competition, for instance, seems to be one factor
in the problematic web of science. From the beginning even Doc Vickerson, the old country
doctor, is said to have a nemesis in the form of another doctor, Dr. Needham.
In Chapter 5, Lewis begins one of his sub-sections (III) by calling Martin "in no degree a hero,"
yet a "seeker of truth who stumbled and slid back all his life. " Here it becomes apparent
that the protagonist of this modern novelin this epic or myth of sortsis not the typical hero,
instead he is more of a man who seeks truth but finds difficulty in the search. For example,
Martin is idealistic, and he talks and talks about what he believes and, in fact, Martin does
believe what he says. However, he also finds himself giving it all up in an impulsive proposal
to Madeleine. He says to her that he will become that "successful surgeon" he so despises so
that the reader can see that Martin Arrowsmith is not a man who is altogether incorrupt or
impossible to tempt.

Perhaps the best thing that happens to Martin in these chapters is that Madeleine leaves him,
and Leora accepts him. Madeleine is too much of an "improver" for Martin to find himself
feeling the freedom he needs to become the kind of man he wants to become. Martin feels freer
with Leora because, although he occasionally likes the luxuries of life, he is "simple" in many
ways. Leora accepts him for who he is, likes Vaudeville, is not impressed by big dinners,
prefers simplicity, and better complements Martin in this way.
It becomes apparent that although Martin is an independent thinker he is not capable of being
alone. He falls in love frequently and easily, which coincides with his romantic nature.
Although Leora is seemingly strong-minded when we are first introduced to her, she is the kind
of woman that wants to make her husband happy. Lewis's portrayal of women throughout is
less than flattering, sometimes submissive, and sometimes frivolous. Lewis intends to portray
Leora as "the good wife," which may irk the modern reader. It is important, however, to also
remember that this book takes place in the early 1900s.

Chapters 79

Chapter 7
Digamma Pi holds an annual dance, which Martin attends with Leora. At first, Martin feels bad
for Leora and somewhat embarrassed that no one is asking her to dance. However, eventually
Fatty Pfaff appears and asks Leora to dance. Other dance partners follow, and Martin becomes
jealous. Leora chides him for his jealousy and reassures him that she loves only him.
After the party, they go to the cafeteria and are joined by Martin's friends. Clif, who had hated
Madeleine, likes Leora. Also while at the cafeteria, Martin approaches Angus Duer and
congratulates him for getting Sigma Xi. Angus acts in an aloof manner, which disturbs Martin
for the rest of the night. The next day, however, Angus apologizes and claims that he had a
headache and was sorry if he was rude, afterwards proceeding to invite Martin and Leora to a
play. He asks if Leora could bring a friend since he has four tickets.
Leora agrees to go and brings her friend Nelly Byers. After the play, both Leora and Nelly have
to be back at the hospital early, but whereas Nelly returns on time, Leora says she will stay a
while longer with the boys and sneak in later. All the while, Angus studies Leora along with the
exchanges between her and Martin. When Leora finally goes back to work, she sneaks in, and
Martin goes in after her, despite the danger of being caught. Surprisingly, Angus is still waiting
for Martin outside (sleeping). The watchman has seen Martin leaving the building. After almost
being caught by the police and after Angus has gotten condescendingly violent with the
watchman, Martin is able to salvage their situation and escape with Angus. Martin believes that
Angus will show friendship for having saved him from his violence but instead Angus turns the
situation around and, the next morning, tells Martin that he better stop drinking if he cannot
handle his alcohol.
Chapter 8
Martin continues to work for Gottlieb and occasionally even visits the old professor in his
cottage. He also begins to gain a liking for "Dad Silva", the professor of internal medicine and
also the dean of the faculty. At the same time, Martin despises Dr. Roscoe Geake the professor
of Otolaryngology whom he calls a "peddler" and who is about to leave the university to accept
a job as Vice President of the New Idea Medical Instrument and Furnishing company.
Leora has to go back to Dakota because her mother has taken ill, and Martin misses her
terribly. He begins to complain about work and his feelings of loneliness without Leora. He has
stayed on with Gottlieb to work through his winter vacation, after exams, and Gottlieb is being
terribly hard on him. He feels overwhelmed by all of this and takes to drinking. The only
person who is also around for vacation is Clif Clawson, and Martin takes refuge in him until the
incident at Founder's Day.
Founder's Day is the school's celebration of the founder's birthday, and there are speakers and
wineeveryone is expected to attend. Dr. Benoni Carr has been invited to speak, but he shows

up for the occasion completely drunk. This incident turns out to be mostly the fault of Clif
Clawson who had met the man while they were both drunk and had told Dean Silva that Carr
was a celebrated pharmacologist who had just returned from Europe (which was, of course, not
the whole truth) and who should be invited to Founder's Day.
When Clif discovers that he is going to be expelled for what he has done, he resigns from the
medical school before the school can expunge him, leaving Martin behind.
Chapter 9
Clif comes to visit Martin in his new car and in his new suit. He is making good money as a car
salesman and takes Martin out to eat at the Zenith Grand. Meanwhile, Leora has written a letter
to Martin implying that she will not be able to return to Zenith. Martin takes to the drink and,
one day, answers back to Gottlieb in an unacceptable manner during a class that he assistant
teaches with Gottlieb.
Dean Silva gives Martin an ultimatum and tells him that he needs to apologize to Gottlieb, to
stop drinking so much, and implies that he should not confer with the likes of Clif. Martin
refuses all of this and is suspended from medical school until he can come to terms with what
he has done. Martin then borrows money from Clif and leaves town. He travels all over and
obtains dishwashing jobs and the like. After wandering the states for a while, he realizes that he
must return to medical school but not before seeing Leora.
He goes to Leora's home in Dakota and tells her what has happened. She accepts all of it, and
they elope, even though her parents and her brother, Bert Tozer, had wanted them to wait until
he finished medical school. As a result, Mr. Tozer tells Martin that they shall not live together
until he finishes school, and that, until then, Leora shall remain in their home. After all of this,
Martin goes back to school and finds himself in the office of Dean Silva.

Through the character of Dr. Roscoe Geake, Sinclair Lewis is able to criticize a certain aspect
of the medical world that is present throughout the novel. Lewis calls him a salesman and a
"peddler" and had him leave the university to sell doctors' office furniture. Before he leaves,
Geake gives a speech entitled "The Art and Science of Furnishing the Doctor's office." In this
speech he talks about the fact that office furniture is the doctor's first step toward selling "the
idea of being properly cured." This section is humorous in its obvious satire, and it is Lewis's
Not only does Lewis write Geake into these chapters, but he also introduces the salesman side
of Clif Clawson. After leaving school, Geake, almost immediately becomes a fairly successful
car salesman, which indicates that the step from doctor to salesman is, unfortunately not so
very distant or difficult to achieve. At the Grand, where Clif takes Martin to eat, the two run
into George F. Babbitt, the protagonist of Lewis's previous novel, in which Lewis acerbically
critiques the archetypal American businessman. This is yet another critique on the
commercialism of the medical profession that Lewis is exposing. The fact that Geake knows
Babbitt simply adds to that critique and links the works, especially in these chapters. And yet,

there are those like Martin who stand opposed to all of this. However, it is in this section of the
novel that Martin begins to become disheartened.
Under pressure, Martin finds himself alone and not as excited as he had once been under
Gottlieb. After Leora leaves and Clif is expelled, Martin feels alone, which, as was illustrated
in earlier chapters, is not a state of being that Martin handles well. Martin has his faults: he
takes to drinking, and his arrogance and impatience drive him to act in an improper and rude
manner toward his mentor and his dean. It is apparent that Martin needs the humbling
experiences he goes through now and again just as it is evident that in this, the story of his
personal growth, he must wander before finding his way. For this reason, it is important that he
wander throughout the states as a dishwasher called "slim," only to return to his two loves:
science and Leora.
It is also important to recognize, prior to his being suspended, that although Martin still loves
Gottlieb, he also is developing liking for Dean Silva. This is important because Gottlieb and
Silva are opposites in their field: one is the laboratory man, and the other is the physician.
Moreover, the fact that Martin likes both of these men illustrates the struggling aspects of his
personality. It also illustrates that although his idols are continuously supplanted (Vickerson by
Edward Edwards and Edward Edwards by Gottlieb, for example), they all have a lasting
influence on his thoughts and in his life. There is no doubt that Gottlieb is the most lasting and
the greatest of these influences, but that is not to say that the others are not important.

Chapters 1012

Chapter 10
Dean Silva happily accepts Martin's return to the university. Silva is encouraging and
understanding, and Martin's admiration for Gottlieb begins to become supplanted for that of
Dean Silva. As a result, Martin puts his efforts into his studies as he had never before, without
his previous cynicism.
Meanwhile, Leora is in Wheatsylvania. She has been expelled from the school of nursing
because of her absences and her marriage. She writes to Martin and tells him she would like to
join him in the fall and become a stenographer in order to earn a living. And thus, Martin goes
to Wheatsylvania to pick up Leora against the will of her parents and her brother.
Upon his return to Zenith, Martin finds Leora a place where she can live in north Zenith while
she attends the Zenith University of Business Administration and Finance. He travels the fairly
short distance from Mohalis (where his medical school is) to where Leora lives in Zenith at
least twice a week to study in what they call their "first home." They each study, take walks, see
movies, and spend time with Clif Clawson. However, Clif moves to New York leaving Martin
and Leora to grow closer and more dependent on each other.
It is Martin's senior year, and everyone is trying to figure out his or her course after graduation.
Angus already has a job as a surgeon at the renowned Rouncefield Clinic, and Fatty decides to
become an obstetrician. Martin does not know what he will do but eventually agrees, and not
without pressure from Dean Silva and Leora's family, that after his two-year internship at
Zenith General (where Angus would also do his internship) he will then move to Wheatsylvania
to practice medicine. Leora's father has promised to pay for his equipment when they arrive in
Wheatsylvania and to send the occasional check during Martin's internship.
Chapter 11
Chapter 11 recounts Martin's experiences as an intern at Zenith General. He tends to those hurt
in a fire, is interviewed by reporters, is respected by crowds that surround accidents, and
delivers a baby in a tenement during a serious flood, among other things. However, Martin's
experience as an intern is not without its downfalls. He claims not to be able to develop a
"bedside manner," and although he convinces himself that being an altruistic doctor is better
than being a selfish and closed laboratory scientist, he still has his moments when he longs for
the lab.
He finds himself doing blood counts and the like in the laboratory of the hospital just to quench
his desire for the laboratory, but he consistently attempts to put it and the memory of Gottlieb
out of his mind. Instead, he lingers on Dean Silva's words and even goes out to eat with Silva
and Leora. Nevertheless, one day he runs into Max Gottlieb in the street, and although he is
moved by their meeting, after which Leora excitedly admits to Martin that he Gottlieb must be
a great man, he forgets him once again during the hectic move to Wheatsylvania.

Chapter 12
Lewis takes this opportunity to bring Max Gottlieb, who has seemingly been missing from the
past few chapters, back to the story. This chapter focuses wholeheartedly on Gottlieb, his life,
and what had happened to him in the three or so years since Martin had last worked with him.
The narrator tells us that when Martin ran into him in the street, Gottlieb was a ruined man. He
then proceeds to tell his story.
The narration moves back to Gottlieb's birth and education, his beliefs, and his following of
scientists like Helmholtz. He had worked in famous laboratories like that of Pasteur and Koch,
done important and unappreciated research, married and had three children, and also traveled
widely by the time he was forced to leave Europe for America because of growing antiSemitism. In America, he takes a position at the University of Winnemac where he met Martin.
Gottlieb had believed in Martin and was heartily disappointed at himself for having let him go.
This sadness, however, turns to anger, and Gottlieb tries to forget Martin.
Meanwhile Gottlieb's wife is becoming very ill and Gottlieb is mentally making a plan to
create a school of his own, one made for pure science. He has the idea of fulfilling his project at
Winnemac and writes dean Silva a letter asking him to step down as dean in order for Gottlieb
to fulfill this new school of his. When Silva, of course, refuses, Gottlieb takes the plan to
higher authorities who charge him with disloyalty, atheism, egotism, and force him to resign.
Gottlieb is ruined and angry and no one will hire him, and it is at this point that Martin had run
into him on the street.

Martin has allowed himself to be swayed away from what he truly loves and has given in to the
pressures of society that he had once so despised. He has a wife now and has to take her into
consideration. In other words, he finds himself thinking about money and the needs required in
supporting a family. He finds himself tempted by Leora's father's aid of money and funds for
initial medical equipment and, finally, gives in to becoming the type of "country doctor" he had
once criticizeda Wheastylvania, small-town physician.
He is constantly, in these chapters, trying to convince himself of his chosen path. Lewis poses
"Dad Silva" and "Pa Gottlieb" in opposition. The two doctors, as previously mentioned,
represent the two extremes of the medical spectrum. Silva is the compassionate and caring
physician, and Gottlieb is the cold and yet much needed, brilliant scientist. These two extremes
meet in the person of Martin and cause a struggle that persists throughout the book. Martin
admires Silva's strengths and his philosophies as a doctor, and he admires the ability of helping
others. Yet, he cannot, no matter how much he tries, eliminate the laboratory scientist within
himself; his nature is much to curious and inclined to discover to relinquish that side of himself
To intensify this juxtaposition, Lewis places an entire section in these chapters dedicated to the
life of Max Gottlieb. The narrator tells his story, which is one of struggle, lack of recognition,
constantly being misunderstood, and strife. Yet, Gottlieb has not, up until this point, wavered in

his belief system, and he is also, like Martin, in search of some kind of grander truth. Silva,
however, is content in the practice of what others find and says that there is more greatness in
being a "Raphael" or a "Holbein" than having been the person who invented paint.
Although Gottlieb is idealized in Chapter 12 as a genius, he is also brought down, and his "fall"
is outlined in detail. While, at the same time, Silva is also shown as somehow "great" when he
tends to Gottlieb's sick wife. In the scene in which Gottlieb trusts Silva with his wife, it is
evident that Lewis intends to show a humbled Gottlieb and to illustrate that those like Silva
(the "Raphael's" of the medicinal world) are also necessary. Furthermore, it is all of this
seeming contradiction and juxtaposition that causes turmoil in Martin, leaving him unsure of
his own path.
Martin is constantly saying to himself that Gottlieb could never waddle through a flood and
deliver a baby, as he had done, and could not survive the adventures of his medical internship.
Thus, Martin heightens the value of what he is doing. Martin even gets caught up in the amount
of power and respect he is given as a doctorcrowds make way for him, policemen bow to his
wishes, and he rides the streets in the ambulance like a king, stopping for no-one. Still, it is
obvious that there is always the pestering voice of Gottlieb in his mind, which Lewis includes
by not only having Martin mention Gottlieb (even in a negative way) consistently, but also by
having him physically run into him in the street.

Chapters 1315

Chapter 13
Gottlieb goes to the Hunziker Company in Pittsburgh and asks for a job. He says he will work
for them part-time if he will be allowed free time for his own laboratory research. The
Hunziker Company produces antitoxins and the like and was reputable, but Gottlieb had called
its product, in the past, doubtful. Nevertheless, in desperation, he writes to the company, and
the company informs him that they will be happy to give him a space in their laboratories
without his having to work for them, with all of the materials he needed, provided that if he
stumbles upon something they will be able to manufacture it. The company then puts out
advertisements that Max Gottlieb is now working for them, and the word spreads. Martin is
disappointed when he hears the news.
Gottlieb is well received and is given much space but after six months at the company he
realizes that he was right about their doubtful product and remains cynical about it.
Nevertheless, during his time there he stumbles upon an important scientific discovery (the
production of antitoxin in a test tube). He reveals this discovery at a Hunziker dinner and is
applauded. However, Dawson Hunziker, the head of the company, applies pressure on Gottlieb
for a patent of his product. Gottlieb says that he needs more time to make sure that he is right
in his discovery and that he also thinks the process should be available to all labs. Still, the
pressure mounts unbearably.
Meanwhile, Gottlieb has trouble with his son, Robert, who seems the professor's antithesis, and
Gottlieb's wife dies. It is at this point that Dr. A Dewitt Tubbs, the director of the McGurk
Institute, upon having heard about his discovery, asks Gottlieb to join the Institute and work
freely on his research within it. Gottlieb agrees since he has no contract with the Hunziker
Chapter 14
Leora and Martin find themselves in Dakota under the strict hand of Leora's family and the
stifling commands of Leora's brother, Bert, and her father. After having promised to financially
help Martin begin his practice, the Tozers tell him they think Martin should set up his practice
in their barn. Martin is appalled, and Leora threatens to leave. She tells her father that they are
to be given one thousand dollars to do with what they will (and which they will repay), or they
will leave. Leora wins the battle, and Martin begins to look for an office space.
Mr. Tozer has heard that the Norbloms are thinking of moving from their home above the
general store, which is a prime location. Tozer, therefore, goes and asks about the place for his
son-in-law. The Norbloms are uncertain and say they will give him an answer soon. Martin
becomes impatient with the Norbloms and decides to look for another place and finds that Wise
the Polack, is leaving town and will rent out his shack to him for fifteen dollars a month.
Martin rents the shack, against the will and suggestions of Leora's family, given that they

believe he owes a certain degree of loyalty and patience to the indecisive Norbloms.
Chapter 15
Now that Martin has his own practice, he begins to prepare it and orders furniture from Dr.
Roscoe Geake's New Idea Instrument and Furniture and Company. At first, the doctor is not
very popular given that he is new and has not yet earned, in the eyes of the community, the trust
of the people. And, in fact, Martin has built a few enemies: the Norbloms, for example, as well
as Pete Yeska, the local pharmacist at whom Martin yelled at because of his mishaps with
prescriptions. Martin is forced to use another town's pharmacist.
Still, Martin has had enough patients that he and Leora believe they can buy a car for his
country house calls. They buy a five-year-old Ford, after which Martin receives his first night
call from one Henry Novak. Novak is calling because his daughter Mary is very ill and seems
to have the croup. Martin leaves straight away but gets lost on his way there. When he finally
arrives he has to leave again for another town to be able to secure a diphtheria antitoxin. When
he returns to the house, the girl is still alive but dies while under his care. The town loses faith
in him, and Martin is himself distraught. Having no one to turn to but Leora (who is as
supportive as ever), he visits Dr. Adam Winter, in the neighboring town of Leopolis. Dr. Winter
suggests that next time he should get a second opinion from another doctor so that the blame
does not fall solely on his shoulder's and so that the people know that he did all he could do. Dr.
Winter also promises to talk to the newspaper. The newspaper prints a story praising Martin's
efforts as a doctor, and the town regains its trust in him, even Henry Novak comes around.

When Lewis describes the companies with which Gottlieb has secured positions, he is at his
most satirical, using the companies in order to expose the commercialism and corruptions with
the medical world of the early twentieth century. For example, Mr. Hunziker, of the Hunziker
company in Pittsburgh says: "We like to make money, of we can do it honestly, but our chief
purpose is to serve mankind." This statement is pure hypocrisy and also pure satire, given that
this man is the president of the same company that is selling a fraudulent cancer treatment,
along with their other antitoxins and vaccines. The language that Lewis gives to the heads of
the laboratories and companies is pure business jargon, full of the salesmen's half-truths. The
Hunziker Company is using Gottlieb, taking him while he is at a low point and then waiting
until he can produce something for them which they can then sell. This is evidenced by the fact
that as soon as Gottlieb discovers something, Hunziker applies constant pressure on him so that
the company may put out and sell what he has discovered. The company is not concerned, as
Gottlieb is, with the importance of perfecting such important processes in science. They are not
concerned, as Gottlieb is, with understanding.
Later, when Dr. Tubbs of the McGurk Institute (which is Lewis' version of the Rockefeller
Institute) calls, he also uses the selling language that Hunziker had used and, with an altruistic
air, claims: "Mr. McGurk and I desire nothing but the advancement of science," which the
reader later realizes is not truly all the institute desires. Furthermore, it becomes apparent that
in order to survive in the world of scientific research, everyone must align him or herself with
one of these institutes, even a man as brilliant as Max Gottlieb, no matter how much he

despises such institutions.

Also of significance in these three chapters are Martin's own struggles, his beginnings as a
doctor. It becomes apparent that Martin needs his freedom and that he feels suffocated under
the wings of Leora's family. This is not to say that Martin is altogether independent because he
desperately needs Leora and her undying support. It is to say, however, that Martin needs his
space. And, interestingly enough, when Martin is able to attain his first spacethe shack he has
rented from Wise the Polack and has turned into an officethe first thing he says is that he is
going to build a test tube rack "of his own." Moreover, when left to his own will, Martin always
turns back to research. The test tubes, of course, symbolize that other side of science (the
laboratory) that he so misses.
Aside from Lewis's satire of the medical world, he also attacks small-town America through
the vessel of Wheatsylvania and its citizens. Wheatsylvania is a town that holds its head high
preaching ethics and then turns around to turn the wheels of gossip and arrogant, and often
ignorant, righteousness. This critique of American life is one of the things for which Sinclair
Lewis is best known.

Chapters 1618

Chapter 16
Life in Wheatsylvania has its ups and downs until one day, quite by accident, Martin is made a
local hero. He decides to go fishing, and on his way he passes a farmhouse out of which a
woman runs to him screaming that her baby is choking. Martin performs an emergency surgery
with the tools he has readily available and saves the child's life. After this success, the entire
town entrusts Martin, and Martin even cures the village's hypochondriac, Agnes Ingleblad.
Meanwhile, Bert becomes a town "booster," trying to advertise and praise his home town of
Wheatsylvania in everyway possible.
Martin, although it had been said in previous chapters that he had acquired enemies, also
acquired friends. He played poker with and talked to the barber, the editor of the Eagle, and the
garageman. However, his gambling and drinking with these men was seen in a negative light by
the people of the town, and they began to call him a "drinking man" and a "gambler."
Martin begins to feel frustrated since he has no one to talk to about work except Leora.
Eventually, he goes to visit Dr. Hesselink, of Groningen because he thinks they will be able to
have professional conversations as he had had in medical school. However, Hesselink is content
with his life and does not relate to Martin. It is about this time that Martin decides that he is
"half- educated" and must further educate himself and Leora and, therefore, goes about reading
Conrad and others in order to learn.
Also in this chapter, Martin discovers Gustaf Sondelius, a speaker and one- man army against
disease, whose philosophy Martin begins to align himself with.
Leora becomes pregnant and, sadly, has a miscarriage.
Chapter 17
Dr. Coughlin of Leopolis and another doctor, Dr. Tromp, are seen talking. Their conversation
turns and ends up on the topic of "Martin Arrowsmith of Wheatsylvania." They begin by saying
he is intelligent but end by talking of his drinking and his lack of attendance at church. Bert
hears about how Dr. Coughlin is speaking of Martin and informs him.
Following, there is an incident of blackleg among the cattle in Cryssen County. Martin isolates
the problem and takes it upon himself to prepare a vaccine since the Hunziker vaccine had
failed. Martin succeeds in stopping the black leg but the veterinarians and doctors claim he is a
"notoriety seeker," and the doctors claim that it is wrong for a doctor to turn to cattle.
Martin discovers that Sondelius is lecturing in Minneapolis and decides to go. Sondelius turns
out to be an eloquent speaker, and Martin decides to invite him to have a couple of drinks with
him after his lecture. Sondelius agrees, and the two men have a good time talking and drinking,
after which Martin finds himself a greater follower than ever of Sondelius.

Chapter 18
Martin offers, because of his newfound interest in Sondelius's crusade on public health and
disease, himself to Dr. Woestijne, the Superintendent of Health for Cryssen County. He does
the work for half the pay and goes about adamantly seeking out epidemics and disease. He
hears about a typhoid epidemic in the community at Delft and begins to map out the cases in
order to come to some sort of conclusion. He discovers that the carrier of the typhoid is a
hygienic spinster seamstress, and he wants to isolate her and examine her. The seamstress and
the town are insulted and believe that he is wrong. However, when the County Board of Health
calls in Dr. Hesselink, Dr. Hesselink confirms Martin's diagnosis.
Leora saves him from the town's resentment when she has the idea of collecting funds for the
seamstress so that they may send her away to a good and large hospital to be cured. After his
success with the typhoid case, Martin goes about searching out other epidemics and claims that
there is a small pox outbreak in a nearby village. Martin is wrong and ridiculed endlessly by the
When the town does not seem to abandon their jokes at Martin's expense, Martin decides he has
to leave and that he has to start over somewhere else. He writes to Sondelius and asks him if he
knows of any openings in the realm of public health. Sondelius helps him and, with the help of
three recommendations (one from Silva, one from Sondelius, and one from Gottlieb) Martin
attains a position in Public Health under Dr. Almus Pickerbaugh, in the town of Nautilus.
Martin is optimistic about Nautilus.

Lewis continues his critique of small-town America throughout these chapters. First, there is
the humorous section about Bert Tozer's new self-induced role as town "booster," a particularly
"American idea." Lewis illustrates it as a kind of senseless pride, pointing to the uselessness of
advertising one's own town within one's own town (a notion, which appropriately, is worthy of
satire). And so the character of Bert, who has been annoying from the start, becomes even more
laughable with his new insistence on displaying town pennants on every car, an idea that
spreads throughout the town. In fact, Martin seems to be the only one who finds this ridiculous.
Furthermore, there is the character of Gustaf Sondelius who seems particularly American, even
though he is a Swede. And yet the fact that he is a Swede does not seem to make null the
previous statement especially within the American world that Lewis creates. For example, by
the second page of the novel, the narrator says that Martin was a "typical Pure-bred AngloSaxon American, which means that he was a union of German, French, Scotch, Irish, perhaps a
little Spanish, conceivably a little of the strains lumped together as "Jewish," and a great deal
of English, which is itself a combination of primitive Briton, Celt, Phoenician, Roman,
German, Dane, and Swede." In short, America is a place of mixture. And Sondelius with his
verbal eloquence and manner of crusading around the world, against disease is both endearing
and, at times, under Lewis' satire, quite comical. His name mimics the word "sound" in its
prefix and calls further attention to his vociferous nature.
Sondelius is important because he becomes Martin's new hero and leads Martin toward Public

Health. Martin is desperately in search of something to fill the void and ease his dissatisfaction.
He cannot find what he is looking for among the townspeople of Wheatsylvania, and he cannot
find it among the competitive and gossiping doctors that surround him. Even among the kind
doctors, like Hesselink, Martin does not feel at home because Hesselink is content with his
place in life. Martin, however, needs something else. He finds this "something else" in
Sondelius's crusade, which leads him back to research and attention to detail in his attempts to
root out typhoid and disease in his neighboring areas. Martin cannot help but find himself
attracted to the laboratory, as is evident in the blackleg incident with the cattle. But it is
obvious that Martin is out of place.
No matter what Martin does, he cannot seem to keep the people on his side, and it is perhaps
because of that "bedside manner" that he never quite developed, as he had pointed out while
interning at Zenith General. He feels he has failed, and he must start over, which is what the
move to Nautilus isa new beginning. Nautilus is a larger city than Wheatsylvania, which
excites Martin, having felt trapped within the small town of Wheatsylvania. He has tried Dean
Silva's methods as a country doctor, and now he will try Sondelius's in Public Health, under the
eye of Dr. Pickerbaugh.

Chapters 1921

Chapter 19
The chapter opens with a description of Nautilus, which is somewhere between a large village
and a small city. Martin reports to his boss, Dr. Pickerbaugh, the director of the Public Health
Department, a man of forty- eight, who turns out to be quite talkative and waxes on about
everything from good business to hygiene and morality. Pickerbaugh is also a "doctor/poet"
who composes verses about sanitation and the like. Martin's first impression of him is poor and
almost immediately feels out of place, though he tries to convince himself otherwise. And as
for his work: Martin performs a little bit of everything, with little time for laboratory work.
Martin and Leora are invited to dinner at the Pickerbaugh's, which turns out to be a long,
tedious, and extended affair. Dr. Pickerbaugh has eight daughters whom he has converted into
the "Healthette Octette," and who sing his verses at public functions. They are a "health band"
of sorts who sing many a "health hymn." The night at the Pickerbaugh's consists of
performances by the children, word games, and charades, among other things. Martin's charade
partner is the oldest daughter, Orchid, who is flirtatious and to whom Martin is attracted and
cannot help but think about.
After leaving the house, Martin and Leora talk about the couple. Martin complains, and Leora
warns Martin about Orchid. Leora reacts jealously and tells him that he had better not act upon
any of the flirtations between them (between Martin and Orchid). The chapter ends with Martin
thinking about Gottlieb and about Orchid.
Chapter 20
One day at work Martin receives a call from Irving Watters, a colleague from the University of
Winnemac whom Martin had always thought of as dull and who is now a doctor at Nautilus.
Irve invites Martin to dinner and though Martin tries to get out of the commitment, Irving
When Leora and Martin arrive at the Watters', Martin finds the couple tedious and is annoyed
by Irving's tendency of speaking in "axioms" and "admonitions." At one point, Irving makes
him sing an old Winnemac cheer.
Martin is constantly being taken away from his lab work by Pickerbaugh and, at one point,
Martin is made to make a speech for a free lecture course at the Star of Hope Universalist
Church, which Martin entitles: "What the laboratory teaches about epidemics." Martin is, at
first, nervous but, in the end, finds himself having liked the applause and power that came with
the experience. Orchid, whom Martin thinks about at every turn, had been sitting in the first
row balcony. It is Leora who has to bring Martin down to Earth and tell him that he is better at
the laboratory than at speeches.
The chapter ends with a gathering at Pickerbaugh's cabin, where, once again, Martin is

confronted with his desires for Orchid.

Chapter 21
Pickerbaugh leads Nautilus in "Weeks" like "Pep Week," for example and "Glad- hand Week,"
in which everyone had to talk to at least three strangers a day. Pickerbaugh is full of ideas and
slogans to go along with his "Weeks." Martin observes his boss and comes to certain
conclusions about him and about leaders in general in much the same dissenting way that Max
Gottlieb had done.
Again, the reader is told that Martin is taken from his lab work time and again to tend to the
mundane aspects of his position. And when he is in the lab, he is often visited by the
Pickerbaugh children, including Orchid, who praises and flatters Martin and acts with a feigned
morality toward him, until Leora goes to visit her family for a week. At this point, which
coincides with the beginning of World War I, Martin goes to visit Orchid. The first time he
visits her while Leora is away he finds Charley, a twenty-year-old clerk who, after the boy has
left, Orchid claims to have been bored by. It is during this visit that Martin and Orchid kiss.
Martin thinks about the girl but feels "glum" afterwards and longs for the "sure solace of

Pickerbaugh is one of the most satirical characters throughout the novel and the chapter of his
introduction provides one of our most entertaining experiences in the book. Through
Pickerbaugh, Lewis is criticizing the politician, even if it is the "earnest" politician, who feels
the need to sell and change his tune, depending on with whom he is speaking. Pickerbaugh
thinks himself a clever man when really his kitschy verse is laughable. The satire is further
embellished by Pickerbaugh's daughters: the Healthette Octette, who with their Health Hymns
spread their father's "mission." What is also being criticized is the tendency of American
leaders to "reform" with a puritanical morality. It is important to remember that Sinclair Lewis,
himself, was living in Prohibition Era America when this novel was written and that he is also
portraying/critiquing the early temperance movements of the late nineteenth and early
twentieth centuries. And it is also important to remember that Lewis is not only criticizing the
leaders like Pickerbaugh, but the followers as well, as is illustrated with the scene between
Martin and the policeman. When Martin, on first arriving in Nautilus, asks a policeman what he
thinks of Pickerbaugh, the policeman speaks well of him and admires his "verse."
Although Martin finds fault in Pickerbaugh's tendencies, he is not altogether immune to the
temptations of fame and power that come with Pickerbaugh's job. For instance, Martin dwells
on having given his first speech and having been received well, he likes the praise and the
attention. In short, he likes the power that comes with speech making. It is Leora who has to
bring him down to Earth and tell him that he must stop trying to fit in and begin to realize that
he will always be an outsider. Dean Silva, in an earlier chapter, had told Leora to keep him to
his work. Silva had, ironically meant, to keep Martin dedicated to being a physician.
Nevertheless, Leora is, in fact, keeping Martin to his true workthe laboratory.
Martin's temptations do not end in the power of speech making, and they extend to take the

shape of Orchid. Martin cannot stop thinking about the girl and almost every subheading ends
with his thoughts on her. Her name is archetypal for a temptress, being the name of an exotic
yet delicate flower. Martin has a wonderful relationship with the ever-supportive and alwaysloving Leora, and yet he kisses this girl and falls into yet another trap. Martin says to Orchid
that he does not think it is wrong to do what they are doing and humorously "thank[s] God [that
he's] a liberal." And yet, it is obvious that Martin feels guilt and that he knows what he has in
Leoracompanionship, love, and what he calls a "sure solace." In short, it is to the laboratory
and to Leora that Martin should be faithful because, in so doing, he would be faithful to
himself. However, Martin strays from his path in these chapters and finds himself caught in the
spiral of the Nautilus.
On another note, Lewis, in these chapters, also points out America's isolationism during this
period. For, while Pickerbaugh is organizing his ridiculous "Weeks," the world is entering

Chapters 2224

Chapter 22
Dr. Pickerbaugh goes on tour with his health reforms and is well known all over America. He is
so popular, in fact, that the Republicans nominate him to run for congressman. Martin is
shocked and told that he will have to take over while Pickerbaugh i s away campaigning.
While Pickerbaugh is away and Martin is running the health department, Martin is called a
tyrant. Martin is not aligned with the unions, and he discovers strep infection in the udders of
three cows. Because of his discovery, Martin wants to close down the Klopchuck Dairy. Most
people, including Pickerbaugh, Irving Watters, and of course Klopchuck himself are against the
closure. Another doctor reinforces Martin's opinions, but the town remains upset about the
closing of the dairy.
Martin meets Clay Tredgold, the president of the Steel Windmill Company, while he is
conducting an inspection of the premises. Tredgold takes a liking to Martin and invites him and
Leora to dinner. Before the couple knows it, they are taken into Tredg old's circle of aristocracy
as their "poor relations," and are attending get-togethers with the group, which soon becomes
known to the reader as the "Ashford Grove Group," given that they are a group of about twelve
families that live in the Ashford Grove section of town.
Chapter 23
Pickerbaugh has planned a Health Fair in which the whole city participates. There are all kinds
of booths, and in one, for example, the "anti-nicotine" woman injects cigarette paper into rats
and shows how they die because of it. Martin is also asked to p lay a part and work in a fake
laboratory, a stage-set of sorts, in order to show the civilians how such a thing is done. Leora is
his "fake assistant." Everything is going well until disaster begins to strike.
First, the Eugenic Family, who is conducting one of the booths, turns out to be, according to the
policeman who discovers it, the "Holton Gang," known for selling liquor to the Indians and
other crimes. Then, on Saturday, the youngest of the Gang has an e pileptic seizure, and a fight
breaks out between the "anti-nicotine" woman and the "anti-vivisection" woman. The "antivivisection" woman accuses the "anti-nicotine" woman of being a murderer. Furthermore, the
fireman in charge of the "Clean Up and Preven t Fires" exhibit accidentally drops a match into
the "Clean House" and starts a fire. Pickerbaugh manages to calmly lead the people away from
the site and stop the hysterical stampede that was created as a result of the flames. Meanwhile,
Martin and two o thers put out the flames. The next day, Pickerbaugh is proclaimed a hero
because it was said he had taught the city a lesson and had prevented hundreds of deaths. All of
this publicity is good for Pickerbaugh's vague campaign.
While Pickerbaugh is campaigning for congress, Mayor Pugh is running for re-election.
Pickerbaugh tells Pugh that, if he wins, he must elect Martin to his current position as Director
of Public Health. Soon enough, Pickerbaugh has won the election and is off to Washington,

taking Orchid with him and ending Martin's pining after the girl. Although the mayor had
agreed to Pickerbaugh's request, it is a struggle to appoint Martin, until Tredgold steps in, pulls
strings, and Martin is appointed as Acting Dire ctor.
Chapter 24
Martin appoints Dr. Rufus Ockford, who is recommended by Dean Silva, as his assistant when
he becomes Acting Director of Public Health. Soon after he begins his work, Martin realizes
that he has much more free time and that Pickerbaugh must have spent mos t of his time on his
tours and trying to inspire others through his speeches and verses. Furthermore, because of
their free time, Martin appoints Dr. Ockford to the city's free clinic, which the doctors in the
town (i.e. Irving Watters) are opposed to bec ause this attention to the free clinic is taking
patients away from them.
Nevertheless, Martin finds that he has more time for the laboratory and makes a considerable
discovery regarding hemolysin and strep. He stays at the lab during all hours of the lab, and
Leora accompanies him. Meanwhile, he is criticized for spending too much time in his research
and not enough time as director. He is about to give in to F.X Jordan (a contractor and
politician in Nautilus) and his words of advice when he hears of Gottlieb's latest developments
in "in vitro" studies.
Martin's popularity continues to dwindle after he expresses his desire to eliminate one of Mrs.
McCandless's putrid tenements. Martin takes the case to court and wins, but because he feels
his opponents will appeal the decision he and his assistant go dir ectly to the buildings to tear
them down and set them afire. Aside from this instance, Martin has an incident with Clay
Tredgold. Tredgold had appeared at his lab one day with drinks and the intention to lure him
into some merriment but Martin would not b e lured and had yelled at Tredgold to leave him to
work in peace. This simply added to Martin's opposition throughout the city. The people began
to call him a tyrant and nicknamed him the "schoolboy Czar." Martin feels himself a failure
and does not know what to do.
An opportunity presents itself when Martin goes to Chicago to present his paper on strep, which
he has finally finished, to the Journal of Infectious Diseases. After the Journal has accepted his
paper, he goes to see Angus Duer at the Rouncefie ld Clinic who offers him a job as a
pathologist at the Clinic.
When Martin returns to Nautilus he is confronted with a war against him. The mayor had
appointed someone above him and together with his new appointment, Dr. Bissex, they forced
Martin to resign by lowering his income until he could no longer survive on i t. Martin,
therefore, resigns and accepts the job in Chicago at the Rouncefield Clinic.

Of utmost importance in these chapters is Lewis's attention to Martin's character and

personality. Martin is constantly tempted, even when Orchid leaves by forces such as power,
pressure to fit in, and money. Still, it becomes evident that Martin is not m eant to fully give in
to these forces because he is finally being pulled out of themit is as if there were something

else in store for Martin, something else he was meant to do. For example: Martin is about to
give up his lab work because th e pressure he is receiving from the town and because of the
advice F.X. Jordan has given him, when suddenly he hears about Gottlieb's newest discovery.
Martin's remembrance of Gottlieb and what he stands for is what constantly draws him out of a
temptatio n to fall into the complacency of a steady job and income and having to give up his
Also, to add to Martin's potential to corruptibility, he allows Clay Tredgold to use his money,
power, position, to secure Martin's the directorship of the Public Health office. This is the very
same political crookedness that Martin had previously critic ized. And yet, Martin does not
allow himself to be corrupt in office and is actually quite ardent about that in which he
believes. In fact, his determination seems extreme at times.
Martin is not perfect. In fact, it seems as though even Lewis is criticizing him as the town of
Nautilus does. For example, Martin is ardent when it comes to closing down the down of the
dairy. His insistence is somewhat cold and although it may seem nece ssary, still, we are meant
to feel sorry for the owner, who is a Polish immigrant who had worked himself up in life.
Martin does not feel for him, and the "coldness" of the laboratory scientist, as was once
evidenced in Gottlieb, surfaces here in Martin. Furthermore, Martin is not the kind to
sympathize with labor unions because he feels superior to them, and this arrogance is, needless
to say, not one of Martin's most admirable qualities. However, it is not until Martin applies this
conviction to his own life, until he commits himself to what he wants as much as he commits
himself to the closing of the dairy and the burning of the putrid tenement. He has it in him to be
determined, but he simply needs to place that energy in the right place.
The satire also continues throughout these chapters in the form of the Health Fair, a disastrous
event in which everything is ridiculous and in which firemen set fire to fire-prevention
exhibits. And yet, Pickerbaugh, the politician, comes out winning bec ause of his ability to
smile and sell. Pickerbaugh's commercialism, despite his "good will," is heavily criticized. It is
not only Pickerbaugh who is criticized, however, so is the Ashford Group and their cloak of
"aristocracy." The group is made up of pe ople who know New York and are educated, have
money, and have been to Europe. They take in Martin and Leora, despite their poverty because
they are "amused" by them and because they find the couple entertaining. Also, the reader
should pay attention to na mes. The name Clay Tredgold, for example, is not coincidental,
given his rich status.

Chapters 2527

Chapter 25
Martin has been at the Rouncefield Clinic for a year and is unhappy. His most happy moments
in Chicago come after work hours when he and Leora discover bookshops and theater among
other forms of entertainment.
Martin finds himself wanting to tie up the ends of the research he had been working on
previously regarding the paper he had written, when Angus protests against it. Angus tells him
that he should be doing practical research instead, and that if he does so he will receive a large
raise. Martin is tempted to take the offer and forget about his own original research when
Gottlieb writes to him regarding the paper he had published about hemolysin and Strep.
Furthermore, Gottlieb invites Martin to join him at the McGurk Institute. Martin accepts the
offer and Leora is supportive.
Chapter 26
Martin arrives in New York and is impressed by the city. It has been five years since he has
seen Max Gottlieb, but, almost as soon as they encounter each other for the first time at the
McGurk Institute, they bolt into discussions and conversations, just as they had done before.
Gottlieb talks to him about the dangers of success and about the "religion" of science.
Martin receives a modest laboratory space within to work while at the institute and is happy
with his freedomhe almost cannot believe his luck. Everything he needed is provided. Martin
begins to become acquainted with McGurk and meets the heads that run it. Dr. Rippleton
Holabird, the head of the Department of Physiology shows Martin around the premises,
showing off his prized "centrifuge." Martin is, at first, charmed by Holabird. Martin then goes
on to meet the Director of the Institute, Dr. A Dewitt Tubbs, a man who seems to carry a vast
amount of knowledge on many topics. There is also the beautiful Pearl Robbins Tubbs's
secretary. Finally, there is Terry Wickett, a fellow laboratory scientist whom Martin dislikes
upon first meeting. Soon, Martin is dining at the Holabirds' where everybody is a "somebody."
The chapter ends with a reflection on Gottlieb and Terry Wickett. Gottlieb seems to have found
serenity at last, and Terry Wickett begins to grow on Martin because Martin can be himself
around Terry as opposed to the act he must keep up with the more pretentious Holabirds.
Chapter 27
Little by little Martin becomes aware of the hierarchy and the groups that have formed within
McGurk. First there is Capitola McGurk, McGurk's snobbish and controlling wife who, among
other things, is described as having been against women's suffrage and who gives monthly
dinner parties. Ross McGurk is different from his wife and actually has a friendship with
Gottlieb. As for Tubbs, his greatest ideal is "co-operation" and working together. The ruling
caste, as Martin calls it, seems to be made up of Tubbs, Holabird, and Pearl Robbins. There is

another independent faction which consists of Gottlieb, Terry Wickett, and Dr. Nicholas Yeo (a
biologist). It is to this group that Martin belongs. Finally there are the others who keep to
After having worked for a while on his own, Gottlieb tells Martin that both he and Terry
believe that he needs to learn more mathematics, physics, and chemistry in order to really get
to work. This insults Martin's pride, but Terry calms him down and offers to tutor him. It is at
this point that a friendship is formed between Martin and Terry.
Meanwhile, America has joined the war, and Tubbs has offered the services of the institute to
the War Department. Everyone, except Gottlieb and two others, is made officers and are told to
buy uniforms. They will have to play their part in the war and make sera. Wickett actually joins
the artillery in France, leaving Gottlieb behind to suffer prejudices because of his German
Martin feels as though the war is an interruption to his work and yet finds himself attracted to
the uniform, at first. He comes to like the salutes and the respect he receives being an "officer,"
but this novelty soon wears off. In fact, Martin chooses not to wear the uniform when he goes
out with Leora but is found out by Holabird who lectures him and mentions his own war
wounds. Martin begins to become annoyed by Holabird.

When these Chapters begin, Martin is still at the Rouncefield Clinic, which he does not like.
The narrator, the author, and the protagonist agree that the Clinic is a place for one to
"succeed," advance monetarily, and achieve notoriety. This is different from the "ideal" of
science for which Gottlieb stands and for which Martin so often longs. The Clinic is called a
"medical factory," by which Lewis hones in on the commercialism of the medical "business." It
is a place where practicality is key, as is seen by Angus's plea to Martin to use his research time
for something practical and useful for the clinic. Originality and independent thinkers are
looked down upon and thus the phrase "medical factory" takes on the same significance as had
the comparison of the University of Winemmac to a mill, they are institutes that churn out selfimportant clones.
Although Martin seems happy at first at the McGurk Institute, it becomes apparent, little by
little, that this institution is not void of the faults that had plagued the clinic. Although Martin
has more freedom, there is a call for "co-operation," and there is an emphasis on money,
success, and competition as seen through the symbol of the centrifuge. The centrifuge, which
Holabird is so proud of, is supposed to be a status symbol because it is an expensive piece of
machinery as well as it being the "fastest," which points to the sense of competition that exists
in the medical world.
The McGurk institute is supposed to be a double of the real life Rockefeller Institute. In fact,
Sinclair Lewis wrote this book because he had met a man named Paul De Kruit who had been
unemployed by the Rockefeller Institute for having written a kind of "expos" of American
medicine. Lewis drew from De Kruit's opinions and experiences at the institute and in medicine
in general. And from this comes the hierarchical critique of the McGurk Institute and others

that came before it in the novel. De Kruit was, of course, a laboratory man, who much like
Arrowsmith had come to the conclusion that the laboratory scientists within institutions only
existed to bring fame to each institute.
Another important aspect of these chapters are the caricatures that arise within them. Capitola,
with her "capitol" name is a caricature of the "virtuous" woman in charge of what she thinks,
yet believes that she should always keep her "place," as is evidenced by the fact that she was
opposed to women's suffrage. Wickett is another caricature, though a more endearing one. He is
the determined scientist without a family, who puts his whole self into science and his work. He
does not know how to fully act within the walls of society and yet, unlike Martin, does not ever
try to. He does not feel the pressure to fit in that Martin has felt in the past, and he never strays
from the path ahead of him, as Martin also has. He is Martin's extreme.

Chapters 2830

Chapter 28
After a year at McGurk, Martin begins to feel badly about not haven gotten anywhere with his
research, when suddenly he comes upon a huge discovery. He discovers that the bacterial
growth in his test tube is gone as a result of a broth he had used. He works day and night and
discovers that whatever it is that is killing the bacteria can also prevent the bacteria from
growing. He calls his discovery "The X Principle." He does not know what the nature of the X
Principle iswhether it is organic or chemical (an enzyme perhaps)but it this is precisely
what he wants to find out.
When Martin is certain that "The X Principle" reproduces itself and causes the same results
through endless attempts and experiments, it is then that he goes to Gottlieb. Gottlieb adds
many new questions to Martin's research and humbles him by adding new angles; however,
Gottlieb is happy for Martin and recognizes that he has struck something big. He then proceeds
to tell Martin to make sure that he does not tell any of the directors until he has enough
information and until he is sure of what he has.
Martin keeps the principle from the heads but allows a doctor at the Lower Manhattan Hospital
to use it to cure boils. Gottlieb becomes upset because he has allowed incomplete results out
into the world.
Martin is sleep-deprived from so much work and feels guilty, at times, for abandoning Leora.
He becomes somewhat mad with work and has visions and phobias. He needs to rest.
Chapter 29
The institute is beginning to wonder what Martin is up to, and Tubbs approaches him, telling
him that Martin must tell him what he has discovered since he (Tubbs) is the director of the
institute. Martin is, therefore, forced to relinquish his discoveries. Tubbs becomes immediately
excited and makes plans for Martin: he decides to submit a plan to the Board of Trustees for a
Microbic Pathology Department, which Martin shall head. Martin shall have his own assistant,
techniciansanything he needs. Plus, Martin is to be given a raise and is to receive a salary of
ten thousand dollars. Tubbs plans everything down to their "cooperative" publication, in which
Holabird also wants to become involved. Tubbs consistently applies pressure on Martin to
Martin begins to feel as though his work is being taken away from him and goes to Gottlieb for
help, but Gottlieb is unable to help, although he tries. A dinner is given in Martin's honor at
which Capitola inquires without much true interest about what he is doing in the laboratory that
is making so much fuss. Soon after, however, Gottlieb informs Martin that someone has
already discovered the X Principle and published the results. The French scientist D'Herelle had
given it another name, however: Bacteriophage. Tubbs soon finds out and informs Martin that
"the plan" was no longerthere is to be no raise and no new department.

Martin is upset by all of this, but he decides to continue his research and add to what D'Herelle
has already published.
Chapter 30
Terry Wickett returns from war, and Martin continues working on his phage experiments.
Tubbs approaches him and tells him he must put the phage to practical use and run experiments
using the phage on pneumonia, plague, typhoid, and so on. Martin, for fear of losing his job, is
forced to abandon his search for the "fundamental nature of phage" and turn to studying its
healing purposes. Martin finds that he can cure pleuro-pneumonia in rabbits and is excited
about his results.
Meanwhile, Tubbs resigns in order to start, along with the millionaire Pete Minnigen, the
"League of Cultural Agencies," which, according to the narrator, is an agency that is meant to
"standardize and co-ordinate all mental activities in America." The institute is left to find a new
director and, after much fighting for the position on behalf of Holabird, Pearl Robbins, and
even Dean Silva of Winnemac, the position is given, surprisingly, to Max Gottlieb, who
Under Max Gottlieb there is hardly any standardization and organization and, thus, the institute
begins to fall apart.
Meanwhile, Gustaf Sondelius has come back from a sleeping sickness study in Africa with
plans to found a school for tropical medicine in New York. However, Sondelius soon becomes
Martin's assistant when he begins to make advances with his phage concerning the plague.
Martin begins to make experiments that show the possibility of curing the plague with the
phage, and Sondelius offers his help for free.

The pressure that the commercial world of the institute applies on scientists is heightened in
these chapters. Gottlieb, speaking from his own experiences at the Hunziker Company, advises
Martin not to share his results with the department heads and directors at McGurk. And yet,
Martin is forced to share his results if he does not want to lose his job. The director
immediately moves Martin to publish because of a fierce competition that exists within the
medical professionone that existed at the time in which this book was written and one that
exists until this day. Under the guise of "helping humanity" Tubbs pressures Martin to publish
and makes a plan for Martin's discovery, writing himself into the glory of the discovery.
When the news is released that someone else has published first, Tubbs takes on an "I told you
so attitude" and refuses Martin all the benefits he had promised. Nevertheless, it seems almost
impossible for the scientist to exist without these institutions for financial reasons. It would be
very expensive to create one's own lab facilities and to create the connections needed to publish
and "succeed." Even Gottlieb, who hates the commercial world of science more than anyone in
the novel, does not leave the institution. Gottlieb is completely against commercialism because
he is a perfectionist who becomes angry when the powers that be do not allow him to fully
complete his research, for an experiment is not complete until one can understand the

"fundamental nature" of what is occurring, and it is only then that the discovery of the scientist
can truly be of help. Even so, he even accepts a position as director of McGurk when Tubbs
resigns. Furthermore, even Gottlieb is not altogether incorruptible. For, even though he has
good intentions (a vision of a laboratory dedicated to "pure science", he does not pas up the
opportunity of a directorship.
In a way, people like Tubbs are necessary in the scientific world. The laboratory scientist,
himself, does not have the business savvy required to run an institution, as is proven by the
failure of Gottlieb's venture as director. And, thus, even if the institutions and institution heads
are corrupt and commercial, it is evident that they are necessary. This does not diminish
Lewis's critique, it simply complicates the matter, as it is in reality.
The character of Sondelius is important because of his willingness to work for what he
believes. He works for free, which even Terry Wickett and Martin Arrowsmith will not do.
Perhaps, Sondelius is gratified with other forms of success aside from money. Perhaps he is
more content with fame or power, although this would be the pessimistic way of assessing
Sondelius's character. Looking at him in a positive light, one might say that he has a true desire
to care for his fellow man and to rid the world of disease. Perhaps his desire to venture out into
the "tropics" and study different diseases is purely altruistic. Perhaps it is a little of both.

Chapters 3133

Chapter 31
A plague has struck the island of St. Hubertan island colonized by the British in the Southern
West Indies. The governor of the island is Sir Robert Fairlamb, who, prior to the spread of the
plague, had fired the rat catcher of the island upon Kellett the Red Leg's suggestion. George
William Vertigan, Kellet's nemesis, is upset complains of this decision because he claims that
the rats carry diseases. The Surgeon General, Inchcape Jones, however, claims that the island is
free of disease, and thus the rat-catcher is unnecessary.
Later, when a ship arrives in the town of Blackwater in St. Hubert, carrying the plague, the
disease is spread by rats. Dr. Stokes, the parish medical officer of Swithin Parish warns
Inchcape about the plague and its probable spread. Inchcape, however, does not head the
warnings of Stokes. Soon there are people dead, including George William Vertigan. Still, there
is no action on behalf of the Surgeon General for quarantine or any such remedy. Stokes takes
matters into his own hands and contacts Dr. Gottlieb, the director of the McGurk Institute about
the plague on the island with a plea, explaining that the plague was about to "flare up and
consume" the West Indies.
Chapter 32
There are rumors about Martin having a cure for Plague, and yet Gottlieb does not move to
action when he hears about the outbreak on the island of St. Hubert. It is not until later, when
Ross McGurk talks to him and tells that were they to help the island it could bring the institute
world fame, that Gottlieb calls Martin into his office. It is not known why Gottlieb decides to
act, whether it is out of kindness or because of McGurk's comments relating to fame.
Nevertheless, Gottlieb asks Martin to go to the island and conduct an experiment with his
phage in order to deduce its real value. Martin is catapulted into instant notorietypeople
interview and everyone is all of sudden interested in him. Sondelius is to go with Martin,
though his opinions of what is to be done with the phage differ from Martin's. Sondelius
believes that the phage should be given to all. Martin believes that the phage should be given to
half, so that he may monitor and take notes and come to a conclusion about the phage. In short,
Martin wants to run an experiment, and Sondelius wants to cure everyone. In fact, when it
comes time to leave for the island, Sondelius refuses to take his dose of the phage, until
everyone is allowed to receive it.
The Board of Trustees agrees to Martin's terms although, Inchcape Jones has not yet admitted
to there being a breakout of the plague. Leora insists on joining Martin, and so Gottlieb gives
her the title of "Secretary and Technical Assistant to the McGurk Plague and Bacteriophage
Commission to the Lesser Antilles." Before Martin leaves, Gottlieb tells Martin to make sure
not to let his heart get the best of him and to go ahead with the experiment no matter what;
Terry tells him to remember to take careful notes.

The day before the McGurk Commission (Martin, Sondelius, and Leora) sets out for St. Hubert,
Dr. Inchcape Jones finally issues a quarantine on the island. Once on the ship, Martin becomes
seasick, while Sondelius gallivants and meets Miss Gwilliam, a rich New Jersey spinster who is
going to the West Indies to "preserve primitive art." Sondelius and Miss Gwilliam do not, to
say the least, get along.
Throughout this section, there is constant attention paid to the amount of love and affection that
Leora has for Martin and vice versa.
Chapter 33
Once near to the island, the plan is to anchor the boat far in the harbor and have a launch take
those who are destined for the island onto the island. Nothing is to be brought onto the ship
from the island, except mail, which shall be disinfected.
Martin tells Leora, before they get onto the launch, that she can still turn back; Leora refuses.
Dr. Stokes, welcomes the commission on the launch and sails them to the island's shore. He
tells them on the way about some of the conditions on the island and the death of the port
doctor. A silent woman in black also joins the commission on the launch and disappears once
they arrive onto the island.
Once on the island, Dr. Inchcape greets them and apologizes for their lack of hospitality.
Sondelius does all the talking to the authorities. Later, it is discovered that Ira Hinkley is on the
island when Ira, Martin's old medical school colleague, pays Martin a visit. Ira goes on and on
about the "wickedness of the natives" and so on. Martin dislikes him immediately.
The group is placed in a lodge (Penrith Lodge) that is safe and rat-proof. While in the lodge,
Martin is visited by a black doctor named Oliver Marchand, who talks with Martin about the
phage and its fundamental nature. After their talk, Martin has to re-evaluate his prejudices, for,
in arrogance, he had thought that the "Negro" was less inferior.
Sondelius becomes a kind of "dictator" and takes charge immediately, having done this kind of
work before and immediately takes to thoroughly killing the rats on the island.

There is much that needs to be looked at carefully in this section regarding symbolism and
character analysis.
First there is the symbolism of the woman in black. When Martin, Leora, and Sondelius step
onto the launch that is headed for the island, a woman in black steps on with them. No one
knows who she is, and she disappears after they come ashore. She represents death. What is
most important about this is that the woman makes certain a terrible foreboding that exists
throughout the chapter. For instance, the love between Leora and Martin is visited and revisited throughout these chapters, to the extent that we feel as if something might happen to
Leora or to Martin. The fact that Martin continuously regrets having brought Leora and that he
feels fear heightens the sense of foreboding in us, which culminates in the image of the lady in
black. Furthermore, we see that the Commission is bringing with it both life and death. In his

suitcase, Martin carries the phage, which is life, but the woman in black who arrives with the
group is juxtaposed against this. It is the fact that the woman arrives with the group that is
most foreboding because it is already evident that death exists on the island. However, when a
symbol of death arrives with Leora, Martin, and Sondelius, it points to the fact that something
may happen to them.
As far as character, one of the most important characters in these sections is Sondelius.
Sondelius takes charge immediately and knows exactly what to do and what to say when and to
whom. We must ask ourselves about Sondelius's intentions. It becomes obvious that Sondelius
loves thrill, adventure, and even the power that comes with heroic actions. It is also apparent
that he has a bit of the martyr in him, when, for instance, he refuses to take the phage until it is
dispensed to all of the people on the island. However, it is of utmost importance that we realize
that these are not Sondelius's only motivations, because Sondelius is one of the few characters
in the novel that, although raucous, has a good heart. After he fumigates warehouses and feels
sorry for the straggling men who went unnoticed, and he stays behind to die with the ratsthe
tramps, vagabonds, and stowaways that die with the fumigation. Furthermore, Sondelius is
efficient and chapter 33 ends with the following words: It happened that he [Sondelius] was,
without Martin or Gottlieb ever understanding it, the most brilliant as well as the least
pompous and therefore the least appreciated warrior against epidemics that the world has
known." There are a few things to be said about this last sentence: first there is the element of
satire in the wording of "warrior" that was seen previously in Sondeliusa kind of critique of
his overzealous spirit. Nevertheless, it is also sincere and, in many ways, is almost like a
eulogy, which is praiseful and yet somewhat foreboding as well.

Chapters 3436

Chapter 34
It is difficult for Martin to convince the people of St. Hubert to allow him to run his experiment
as opposed to simply giving everyone the phage. Inchscape and Governor Fairlamb are both
against it, and so Martin has to have the matter taken up by a board that consists of Inchcape,
Fairlamb, the Board of Health, members of the House of Assembly, and Sondelius himself.
Everyone is against Martin's experiment, except Dr. Stokes and Dr. Oliver Marchand.
There is an incident at the Board meeting where Ira Hinkley stands and speaks poorly of
Martin, calling back his experiences of having been suspended from Winnemac and further
criticizing Gottlieb's incompetence. Sondelius stands up for Martin and Gottlieb to the point
where Hinkley is asked to leave and the board decides to consider the experiment. Sondelius
says he will stand by Martin. However, he still refuses to take the phage himself.
After the Board meeting, a man named Cecil Twyford, of St. Swithin's Parish confronts martin
and tells him he is sorry about how the board had reacted to his request and that he could do
something in St. Swithin. Four days later, Ira Hinkley dies.
Martin returns, then, to the village of Carib, where he had visited earlier, and which is in utter
despair. He gives the phage to the entire village. The plague decreases but, because of the
infected ground squirrels, both Martin and Sondelius believe that the village has to be burned in
order to be completely disinfected. Both men then proceed to evacuate the villagers and place
them into a temporary tent, after which they burn the village. It is at this point that Sondelius
catches the plague and dies. Sondelius's dying words to Martin are to please give all of the
people the phage. Martin, however, will not sway.
Back in Blackwater, Martin is despised by the people - they call him names and throw stones
because they believe he is withholding their salvation. Inchscape falls to pieces and deserts the
island, after which he commits suicide. It is at this point that Stokes is appointed Surgeon
General and Martin is finally allowed to conduct his experiment because of an agreement
worked out by Stokes and Cecil Twyford. Martin will conduct his experiment in St. Swithin.
Martin leaves St. Hubert for St. Swithin, leaving Leora behind for fear that it will not be safe
for her and promising to send for her if he sees that it is alright. Once in St. Swithin, however,
Martin meets a widower named Joyce Lanyon, a rich New Yorker who had gone to St. Hubert
to check on her plantations and had become caught in the quarantine. Martin is attracted to her
and feels tempted as he had with Orchid.
Chapter 35
The plague was only just beginning to spread in St. Swithin when Martin arrived. He conducts
his experiment. The plague attacked the unphaged people much more so than those who had
been injected with the phage.

After working, Martin spends time with Joyce. They escape to the shore together, where they
share a kiss. This does not mean that he does not think about Leora because he consistently
thinks of her and decides that he will call for her. When he cannot reach her, he decides that he
will go and pick her up personally.
Meanwhile, Leora is back at the Lodge and in a fit of missing Martin, Leora ventures into
Martin's laboratory where she smokes one of his unfinished cigarettes in order to be closer to
him. What she does not know is that a maid had knocked over a test tube and the plague from
within it had trickled onto the test tube. Leora becomes very ill. When the maids discover her,
they flee, and Leora dies alone.
Martin discovers her dead and falls apart. He takes to the bottle and gives up the experiment to
Stokes and Twyford. He begins to hate Joyce because of the guilt he feels of having been with
her while his wife was dying. Joyce visits him and Martin turns her away. After her visit,
Martin finds himself filled with a new courage. He returns to St. Swithin and to his research.
Whether it is because of the phage or the rat-killing, the plague slackens and the quarantine is
lifted, six months after Martin's arrival on the island. Joyce Lanyon leaves and Martin says
goodbye to her, asking if he may visit her in New York. Martin does not leave until weeks after
Joyce and while still on the island, he receives a letter from Holabird. The letter congratulates
him and tells of Gottlieb's resignation and of Holabird's new appointment as Director. Martin
receives praises from everyone, but feels like a traitor for having abandoned the experiment
when he had.
Chapter 36
On the St. Buryan, the ship that is taking Martin back to America, Martin runs into Miss
Gwilliam once again, who gossips about him behind his back. Upon his arrival, Martin is
received by reporters and is highly praised. He is even given his own department of
Microbiology and yet he feels that his work is not fully complete and becomes angry when
Holabird pressures him to publish his results because he feels they are not certain (given the
time he spent away from his work). Martin and Terry make a pact to stick together. And Terry
advices Martin to have patience until they can work independently, even when Martin's original
report of St. Hubert is published (under the name of the Institute) against his will. Martin is,
nevertheless, able to continue to work and he publishes his first important scientific paper,
which is highly acclaimed.
Gottlieb, in the meantime, has grown senile.

Lewis uses Martin's success to criticize American sensationalism and arrogance. Martin is met
by reporters the minute he lands and Holabird does not waste time in spreading the word of
Martin's "successes" throughout the newspapers of America. People who do not even really
understand what Martin has done are talking about him. And, as for America's arrogance, that
particular critique becomes quite apparent in the following statement said by the narrator in
chapter 36: " the papers were able to announce that America, which was always rescuing the

world from something or other, had gone and done it again." Lewis is criticizing the tendency
of America to believe it can simply intervene and solve the world's woesits "Big Brother"
tendency. He is also critical of America's neo-colonial tendencies. The narrator adds to the
above comment by saying that there had once been "a doubt as to how benevolent the United
States had been to its Little BrothersMexico, Cuba, Haiti, Nicaraguaand the editors and
politicians were grateful to Martin for this proof of their sacrifice and tender watchfulness."
This tender watchfulness, if, of course, to be read within quotes. America is not very different
in this view, from the British colonialists who are late to take charge of the plague in the West
Indies and yet, always, ready to take credit for its "good deeds."
Martin is, in many ways, like America itself. He is quite arrogant and feels that there are those
inferior to himself as was evidenced when Martin is introduced to Dr. Oliver Marchand, a black
doctor. Martin, however, grows and becomes humbled by his experiences, just as he is
constantly "humbled" in St. Hubert by what he sees and learns. When Joyce departs the island
and says farewell to Martin, she says that Martin had "trained" her in reality. In away, Martin
has received that same kind of reality training himself. Martin realizes that many laboratory
scientists are unaware, in their sterile labs, of the kind of reality that exists all around him in St.
Hubert during the plague. It is easier to have a hard heart when one is not confronted with
wagons of corpses being carried away. Time and again, he calls to mind Gottlieb when is about
to give in to giving the phage to everyone for the sake of compassionhen he is about to give
up his experiment. The thought of Gottlieb and of pure science and of the idea that he will be
saving countless more lives if he can just get through his experimentall of this keeps him
going, but not without realizing that it is at a price.
Moreover, the compassion of the physician and the stubbornness of the laboratory scientist
come to face to face in these chapters. Martin must face both sides of his training and of his
person. He is able to provide relief, for instance, in Carib, where he gives the phage to
everyone, but he is single-minded about the experiment in St. Swithin. Furthermore, it can be
said that Martin has come to some sort of terms with his two sides. And, in the end, it is said
that he has developed the "sureness" that Max Gottlieb had seemed to have been born with.
Martin has learned a great deal and, as Terry Wickett suggests, his scientific life is really just
beginning. All that has passed has been merely his education.

Chapters 3740

Chapter 37
Martin telephones Joyce and asks if he may go over to see her. He begins to share quite a bit of
time there and there arises a rivalry between Latham Ireland and Martin because both of them
vie for Joyce's attention. Her lifestyle is very rich, and, when Martin is invited to her country
house, he finds himself unhappy and out of place. Nevertheless he likes her and is attracted to
her the way any man his age would feel for a young, beautiful woman, as the narration claims.
After the country stint, Martin goes to Terry Wickett's house in the woods of Vermont, which is
very different from Joyce's abode. Terry's home is rugged and rustic.
Martin eventually proposes to Joyce and, on their honeymoon, they vacation across Europe. He
believes he is becoming accustomed to her lifestyle.
Chapter 38
Martin's lifestyle has changed drastically since it is, for example, that he now goes to work in a
limo and entertains the likes of Angus Duer and his wife.
Meanwhile at work, Holabird asks Martin to spend less time on his phage experiments and to
begin to work on influenza since they must keep up with their competitors at the Rockefeller
Institute. This upsets Martin, of course but fears losing his job and so does what he is told. He
then tells Holabird that Rockefeller has found the cause for influenza and while Holabird thinks
up another plan for him, Martin is left to do as he pleases, for a little while. His own work
begins to take off on the organic nature of phage and, yet, Martin leaves his opportunity for
fame behind and follows Terry into a project concerning quinine derivatives. They work
together in Birdie's Nest, Terry's Vermont house and they decide that they need monkeys for
their experiment.
They ask Holabird for it, as well as the request that Terry be moved to Martin's department and
Holabird gives them what they need, which Terry is skeptical about. Holabird leaves them to
their work until he finds out they are onto something and, characteristically, pressures them to
publish. Terry refuses, insults Holabird and quits. Martin wants to follow Terry to Vermont,
where Terry will be working but he does not resign from the institute because Joyce is opposed
to it, since it is that Joyce is pregnant. She does not want him to be away and she wants him to
keep his "solid" position at McGurk. She says she will think about buying a house near Terry's,
upon Martin's suggestion, but she never does and Martin remains at the institute.
Chapter 39
Martin is back to working with phage but does the worst work of his life and without the
counter balance of Terry's friendship he has become board with Joyce's rich acquaintances.

One day at the laboratory, Clif Clawson calls on Martin. He proposes an idea to Martin
involving the selling of phage tablets at a questionable Sanitarium in Long Island, which
Martin, in good conscience refuses. Nevertheless Clif invites himself to dinnera dinner that
proves to be the end of their friendship. Joyce and Clif dislike each other though they are
"polite." Joyce retreats early to bed and when she is gone Clif criticizes both her and Gottlieb,
which enrages Martin. Clif leaves and Martin never sees him again. Martin is glad but hurt at
the same time.
Joyce and Martin have a baby boy. Martin is at work quite a bit, having been successful of late
in his research. Joyce, however, complains that he is working too late and builds a lab for
Martin on their property. The lab and Martin, however, become a showcase for Joyce's friends.
Martin goes to see Terry in Vermont and they have a fight when Terry says he should be
researching with him. Martin walks out but returns because he cannot bear losing Terry. They
make up and Martin says he will find a way to join him in the lab he has built at Birdie's Nest.
Chapter 40
Holabird offers Martin the position of Assistant Director of McGurk, which Joyce wants him to
take. Martin, however, refuses and decides to resign in order to join Terry and attain his
Martin leaves Joyce behind and goes to Vermont where he is happy in his work. Joyce writes to
him and says it is he that will have to apologize, when Martin does not she comes to visit.
When she offers to buy a house nearby he tells her that his work is serious and that he cannot
have her and her friends interrupting it, after which she turns and goes.
As the novel comes the reader receives a briefing of what the main characters of the novel are
doingfor instance, Duer now has his own clinic and is a professor, and Joyce tells Latham
that if she divorces Martin, she will marry him. Gottlieb is senile. And as for Martin, he is
happy at what feels to be the beginning of his real work.

Throughout the novel, Lewis, through his satire, points to the amoral behavior of the medical
world at large. The medical profession, for example, has "salesmen" and not "seekers of truth"
as its leaders. It is commercial and lacking the precision it should carry. These are just a few
examples of what Lewis critiques. Throughout, it is Martin Arrowsmith (along with a few
others - like Terry Wickett) that seems to recognize this "amoral" behavior. And yet, in this
section, Martin abandons his wife and his child in order to retreat into the woods with his friend
to study. It is obvious that, paradoxically, this action of independence is what Martin needed in
order to do the kind of research and lead the kind of life he had always been meant to lead. It
seems that the fact that he leaves his child and his wife, who he is obviously incompatible with,
is not the point of the novel. However, it is something that the reader should take into account
and is something that many critics have touched upon because of the irony involved in the
Still, the action was, indeed necessary for the novel to end optimistically. Throughout the novel

Martin has been an outsider and it is not until these final chapters that Martin comes to terms
with that status. He becomes aware, when Joyce wants him to take on the directorship and
abandon his research, that she does not truly understand the importance of his work. This is not
to say that he had not fallen into the temptation of Joyce and her world of riches. He, in fact,
actually learns golf and somewhat comes to enjoy the luxuries that she gives him. It even takes
him a while to become accustomed to Terry's lifestyle when Martin finally decides to join him.
But Martin, is happiest at Birdie's Nest - it is there that he finally has the freedom, not only to
be himself, but also to do the kind of research that he and Terry feel is important. They no
longer have to be pressured into publication and they no longer have to study "influenza," if
they do not want to, simply to appease the heads and to "keep- up" with one institute or another.
The character of Terry Wickett is important in this section because he has the courage to do
what Martin could not do at firsthe resigns from McGurk when he has had enough. Granted,
Wickett is not faced with the responsibility of a family, but that had been his choice. Moreover,
it is as if, without Wickett's lead, Martin could not have made the step he made into freedom.
Martin is not an all-together self-assured character and it is not until the very end that he
achieves the "sureness" Gottlieb had once shown.
Martin has had to lose his wife and mentor in order to achieve his destiny. It is, however, a
lonely and difficult destiny, which Lewis points to over and over again and illustrates through
Wickett and Gottlieb. An entire dissertation may be written, moreover, on the "romanticism"
involved in the creation of a character like Martin Arrowsmith.

Important Quotations Explained

It cannot be said, in this biography of a young man who was in no degree a hero, who
regarded himself as a seeker after truth yet who stumbled and slid back all his life and
bogged himself in every obvious morass, that Martin's intentions toward Madeleine Fox
were what is called "honorable."
These are the opening lines to the third section of Chapter 5 and they carry with them a great
deal of weight for many reasons. First, it sets the tone for much of the novel as well as setting
up the novel as a bildungsroman. We are told that this is a biography and, thus, the story of one
man's personal developmentof one man's life; the life, in this case, of Martin Arrowsmith.
Further, the quote carries with it some humor which sets up the satirical tone that the novel so
often takes on. This is not to say that the novel is, as a whole, "funny," for it is not. It is simply
a satire with its pieces of humor and its pieces of sharp wit.
Then there is the word "hero" to assess. Martin Arrowsmith is and is not a hero. A hero is
someone who has to overcome great feats, who journeys, and who is courageous. All of this
applies to Arrowsmith, who is, in fact a "seeker of truth." Nevertheless, he is not a "hero" in
that he is not divine or pure or lacking faults. In fact, Martin is full of faults as is evidenced by
this quote, as he is constantly falling into temptation and "stumbling," back and forth until the
very end. Martin is, in short, a kind of modern hero.
Are you going on for the rest of your life, stumbling into respectability and having to be
dug out again? Will you never learn you're a barbarian?
Leora says this to Martin in the third section of chapter 20 when Martin is going on about his
speech and asking Leora why she had not liked it and why she had told him, on another
occasion, that he had spoken to much. This is important because attempting to fit in is Martin's
grandest fault. Martin is an "outsider" from the beginning, as many laboratory scientists are
he is an outsider at social gatherings and he is even an outsider in medical school and in the
medical world at large. Nevertheless, Martin tries to fit in and is constantly tempted by success,
power, and the praise of those that surround him. It is not until he is able to give this temptation
up, not until he is able to give up his urge to fit in, can he truly concentrate on his real work.
Also important to this quote is that Leora knows this and, aside from all of the above, this quote
points to Leora's understanding of Martin and her ability to bring him to where he is meant to
be. Although, at the beginning, she is why he has to give up the lab in order to become a doctor
in Wheatsylvania, in the end, she understands him and his need to research and is ever
supportive of these needs.
I make many mistakes. But one thing I keep always pure: the religion of a scientist.
Gottlieb says this to Martin in Chapter 26 upon Martin's arrival at McGurk's. There are many
instances in which there seems to be a struggle between science and religion in the novel. For
instance, Martin, the advocate of "pure science" has an aversion for Ira Hinkley's preachings.
Science seems opposite to religion because one must be able to prove science and, as Martin

claims, to be a good scientist one must have the strength not to "trust God." This does not
mean, however, that science is not a religion all its own. Both Martin and Gottlieb are seen
"praying" at different points in the novel. And yet the two men are most "religious" when they
are alone in their laboratories, in silent retreat. For, their science, when it is true, is a whole
belief system. It is a stubbornness, a desire, a curiosity, a restlessness, a humility, and a desire
to do ones bestall of which can also describe religion. And thus, the two forces that seem to
be at odds are quite paradoxically similar.
Nonsense! That attitude is old-fashioned. This is no longer an age of parochialism but of
competition, in art and science just as much as in commerce.
Tubbs says this to Martin in Chapter 29 when Martin feels it is not time for him to publish the
results of the phage yet because he is not altogether sure about his results. This is important
because it puts forth the main purpose of Lewis's satire and critique of the modern medical
profession. Lewis had met a doctor who worked for the Rockefeller Institute before he had
written this booka man named De Kruif who had particularly critical views of the
commercialism involved in science. This commercialism exemplified by Tubbs should not
belong in science because science should not be a business. Unfortunately, the fact that
scientists must be attached to institutes in order to survive makes science a business and it is
this very "competition" that Tubbs finds necessary that both De Kruif and Lewis are criticizing.
It is for this reason that it is so difficult for someone like Martin or someone like Gottlieb to be
happy because their naturestheir desire to seek "truths"is constantly being undermined and
interrupted by the machinery of the medical world that surrounds them: that of salary raises
and publications, of interviews and directorships, of expensive "centrifuges" and notoriety.
I feel as if I were really beginning to work now," said Martin. "This new quinine stuff may
prove pretty good. We'll plug along on it for two or three years, and maybe we'll get
something permanent - and probably we'll fail!"
These are Martin's wordsthe words with which the novel ends. They are important because
they point to the fact that Martin's learning process has been long and difficult and one that is
not likely to end. Martin and Terry both feel as though, after all they have done, they are just
beginning because they have had an "education" not only in science but also in the world. They
are at last now free, accompanied by all their accumulated knowledge, to do the kind of
research that they wish do, independent of any institutions.
Somehow it does not seem to matter if they fail, for the truth is in the search and the faith that
they may one day find something. If Martin does not attain fame or a great scientific discovery,
at least he has been true to himself. It is the nature of the trade to fail and fail again and for this
reason, and patience is key. Patience is something that Gottlieb had but that none of the
department heads that passed through Martin's life ever had.
And so the novel does not end at an ending but at a beginning. Lewis has written about the
personal growth of one man who still may have more to learn. The novel ends, nevertheless,
optimistically, even if the last word is fail, for failure is something Martin has come to accept
in a world where "success" is the enemy.

Key Facts
full title Arrowsmith
author Sinclair Lewis
type of work Novel
genre Bildungsroman, satire, American novel
language English
time and place written 1920's; New York
date of first publication 1925
publisher First publication by Harcourt, Brace & Company. 1998 edition by Signet Classic
narrator An anonymous, third-person, omniscient narrator
point of view The third-person omniscient narrator mostly follows the life of Martin
Arrowsmith, marking the narration with his opinions. However, there are episodes in which the
narrator travels through the thoughts of other characters, yet the narrator mostly seems to
express the opinions of the protagonist and author, even if it is through farce or satire.
tone Critical and satirical. Often humorous, serious in intent (even didactic at times), and yet,
optimistic, by the end
tense Mostly past tense, sometimes drifting into the actual moments being narrated and
switching to the present tense
setting (time) The novel encompasses the early part of the twentieth century, spanning from
the early 1900s to post-WWI.
setting (place) The novel is mostly set in America with a brief stint in the Caribbean (on the
island of St. Hubert). The narration follows Martin from the provincial Elk Mills, to
Winnemac, to the small city of Nautilus, to Chicago, to New York, and, finally to Vermont.
These places are meant to represent most of the United States.
protagonist Martin Arrowsmith
major conflict Martin's major conflict is remaining true to his research and his search for
truth through constant temptations: science versus commercialism.
rising action Martin moves from job to job, from institution to institution, and from town to
town. He is a doctor in Wheatsylvania, a public Health officer in Nautilus, a pathologist in
Chicago, and a researcher under the wing of the McGurk Institute. All the while he is met with

temptations from women, success, power, and fame.

climax Leora's death in St. Hubert constitutes the first climax because Leora has been
Martin's sole companion, and her death causes him to stop his research on the island, to which
he had been true up until that point. The second climax is Martin's fight with Joyce Lanyon
when he decides to resign from the institute and join Terry Wickett in his private laboratory.
falling action After Leora dies, Martin stops his research only to return to it after he rejects
Joyce's friendship, when he has a newfound courage to complete his experiment. Martin returns
to New York and becomes well known for his experiments with the phage in the West Indies
(even though he believes them to be incomplete). He marries Joyce, does well with his
research, and is pressured to publish. It is at this point that the second climax of resigning from
the institute comes, after which he retreats to Vermont with Terry.
themes The corruption within American medicine; the plight of the scientist; the salvation
found in retreat.
motifs Science versus religion; men of measured merriment; the idea of success
symbols The magnifying glass; Terry Wickett; and the Centrifuge at the McGurk Institute
foreshadowing The first section of the noveloutlining the life of Martin's greatgrandmother who has suffered and who, despite it all, remains determinedforeshadows
Martin's own life.

Study Questions and Essay Topics

Study Questions
Is Martin Arrowsmith a good doctor?
From Martin Arrowsmith's beginnings at medical school, Martin is against the philosophy and
practice of the physician. He is a man who admires more the science of Gottlieb than that of
Dean Silva, the compassionate caretaker. He believes that the search of the laboratory scientist
is purer and more "true." He often looks down on the "country doctor" in arrogance, even. His
ideal is to gain the cold sureness of Gottlieb and yet, Martin is constantly shifting. At one point,
Martin finds Silva admirable and he becomes a physician in Wheatsylvania and yet he does this
more out of force than will.
Moreover, once he becomes a physician, the respect of the townspeople for him is in constant
flux, for different reasons. Martin often looks down on his patients and, further, is not
contended with the responsibilities of the country doctor - he needs more. His curiosity forces
his visions to extend beyond that of the local success of the country doctor and even passed the
notoriety of the big city surgeon (like Angus Duer). Further, Martin is not altogether social or
good with people and, while in medical school, he cannot develop a "bedside manner."
From the beginning Gottlieb had told him that he would not make a good doctor, though he
may make for an excellent laboratory scientist. Further, and most importantly, Martin does not
make a good physician because he is not happy in the practice of it. For, Martin is not inept
and, in fact, is quite capable of saving lives. Further, he is often compassionate, despite
himself. And still, he is miserable when he is not in the laboratory and therefore does not put
his whole self into the practice of the physician as he does when he is in the lab.
Describe the relationship between Martin and Gottlieb.
Max Gottlieb is Martin's ideal and true mentor. Gottlieb's presences, even when he is not
physically there, is present throughout the novel because Martin is constantly calling upon him
in memory. In fact, Martin calls him forth as one would almost call forth a god in prayer. He
calls him to mind when he is in trouble, when he fears falling into temptation, and when he
most needs a reassuring hand. Gottlieb is a man who, most of the time, is true to his "religion"
of science and Martin longs to be like him, from the moment he hears about him at one of
Edward Edward's "At Homes."
This is not to say that his relationship with Gottlieb is altogether idyllic. They fight and part
ways many times, just as Martin and Leora fight. Also, Martin will not be able to fully lead his
own life until he is free of Gottlieb. Because Martin is always trying to please him, he feels a
kind of release (the lifting of a burden) when Gottlieb resigns from the institutes because of
senility. Although Gottlieb's senility hits Martin at heart, it is something that is necessary for
Martin's growthin short, he must outgrow the space between the wings of his father in order
to truly be happy in the world at large.

Is the end of the novel optimistic or pessimistic?

The end of the novel is optimistic in the way that the beginning of the novel is. At the
beginning the reader glimpses at the life of Martin Arrowsmith's pioneer great-grandmother.
His fourteen-year-old great-grandmother has lost her mother and has her sick father riding in
the back of her wagon, and yet she looks forward to the west and is ready to see the world.
When her father asks her to stop, she says: "We're going on jus' along as we can. Going West!
They's a whole lot of new things I aim to be seeing!" This spirit is precisely that of Martin at
the end of the novel.
Martin has decided to abandon the "comfort" of the Institute for the freedom of independent
work. He has retreated into the woods and looks forward to the future. He knows failure may be
ahead, but he is prepared for it so that although the novel ends in the world "fail," it is a failure
Martin is willing to accept and one from which to venture forth. It may be that this is simply
another one of Martin's "good moments," but, since the novel ends with the idea of failure, we
cannot help but feel pessimistic. Also, it cannot be said that Martin has not learned from his
experiences, even though, at times, it seemed he would never be able to do so. Further, it is
tragedy that allows him this freedom. Martin, by the end, finally finds his place. He admits to
being an outsider, a "barbarian," as Leora had phrased it and yet, not without losing his loved
ones first.
Martin loses Leora and Gottlieb, and yet Martin cannot be alone. It may be different this time
around, but that is not to say Martin may not fall into another relationship that holds him back.
Therefore, the ending depends on whether you believe Martin has attained his freedom for
good, or whether this journey into the woods is just a phase in his long life.
Suggested Essay Topics
Discuss the use of symbolism in the novel.
Discuss the role of women in the novel by analyzing the characters of Leora, Madeleine,
Orchid, and Joyce. What are their strengths? Weaknesses? What is their purpose in the novel,
and how do they relate to Arrowsmith and his life?
Of what is Arrowsmith a satire?
Is this novel a morality tale? If so who are the "moral" characters in the novel, if any?
What purpose does Terry Wickett serve in the novel?

Where is Martin Arrowsmith when the novel opens?
(A) In Medical School
(B) In Leora's house
(C) In the laboratory that he and Terry Wickett built
(D) In Doc Vickerson's office
What is Doc Vickerson's greatest fault?
(A) He drinks
(B) He is cruel to his wife and children
(C) He does not care at all about his patients
(D) There is nothing wrong with Vickerson, he is an ideal doctor
Where does Arrowsmith attend medical school
(A) University of Elk Mills
(B) In Chicago
(C) University of Winnemac
(D) New York University
To whom does Martin propose marriage?
(A) Madeleine Fox
(B) Both Madeleine Fox and Leora Tozer
(C) Leora Tozer
(D) To no one, Martin does not wish to marry
Where do Martin and Leora move to immediately after Martin's internship at the hospital?
(A) Wheatsylvania
(B) Nautilus
(C) Chicago
(D) New York
Who is Max Gottlieb?
(A) Martin's mentor
(B) A professor at Winnemac
(C) A German scientist
(D) All of the above
Who is Martin's rival in Medical school?
(A) Clif Clawson

(B) Angus Duer

(C) Madeleine Fox
(D) Dr. Caughlin
What do they call the dean of Winnemac?
(A) Dad Silva
(B) Professor Silva
(C) Doc Silva
(D) Doctor Silva
Who lends Martin money when he needs it during his time away from medical school?
(A) Angus Duer
(B) Clif Clawson
(C) Max Gottlieb
(D) Doc Vickerson
How does Martin decide between the two women to whom he is engaged while in medical
(A) He invites them both to dinner and has them decide
(B) He chooses the most practical
(C) He chooses the richer
(D) He chooses Leora because she is a nurse
Who is Orchid?
(A) Pickerbaugh's daughter, of whom Martin is enamored
(B) Martin's second wife
(C) Martin's lab assistant
(D) Terry Wickett's wife
Where does Martin do his medical internship?
(A) Zenith
(B) Chicago
(C) Wheatsylvania
(D) Sauk Centre
What is Leora's reaction to Gottlieb, when she meets him in the street?
(A) She thinks he is arrogant
(B) She dislikes him immediately
(C) She thinks she has just seen a "great" man
(D) She is indifferent
Who is Miriam?

(A) Gottlieb's wife

(B) Gottlieb's daughter
(C) Martin's wife
(D) Gottlieb's sister
What happens on Martin's house call to Mary Novak's house?
(A) Martin miraculously cures Mary of pneumonia
(B) Martin diagnoses Mary correctly and gives her an antitoxin to soothe her throat
(C) Mary dies
(D) Martin saves the girl's life with an emergency tracheotomy
Who is Martin's boss in Nautilus?
(A) Gustaf Sondelius
(B) Dad Silva
(C) Max Gottlieb
(D) Dr. Almus Pickerbaugh
Who invites Martin to join the Rouncefield Clinic?
(A) Angus Duer
(B) Max Gottlieb
(C) Gustaf Sondelius
(D) Almus Pickerbaugh
What does Martin do at the Rouncefield Clinic?
(A) He is a pathologist
(B) He is a surgeon
(C) He is allowed to do independent research
(D) He is director of his own department
What is Martin's initial impression of Terry Wickett at the McGurk institute?
(A) He can see immediately that Terry is a great scientist
(B) He can tell that they will become great friends
(C) He is jealous because he thinks Leora is attracted to him
(D) He dislikes him
What does Martin initially call his discovery at the McGurk Institute?
(A) The Twyford Factor
(B) Bacterial Phagum
(C) The X Principle
(D) The Gottlieb Principle
Who is Joyce Landon?

(A) Martin's second wife

(B) Leora's good friend
(C) Pickerbaugh's daughter
(D) Terry's girlfriend
Where is Martin sent to test/use the phage he has been working on in the laboratory?
(A) New Jersey
(B) St. Hubert
(C) Chicago
(D) The Mayo Clinic
What happens to Leora in St. Hubert?
(A) She decides to divorce Martin
(B) She enjoys her time reading on the beach
(C) She uses her skills as a nurse to assist in Martin's work
(D) She dies of the plague
Who of the following accompanies Martin to St. Hubert?
(A) Gustaf Sondelius
(B) Max Gottlieb
(C) Dr. Holabird
(D) Bert Tozer
Where does Martin go to at the end of the novel?
(A) Back to the McGurk Institute where he is promised a directorship
(B) Back to Chicago
(C) To Terry Wickett's laboratory in the woods
(D) He decides to remain in St. Hubert where Leora is buried for the rest of his life

Suggestions for Further Reading

Bloom, Harold, ed. Sinclair Lewis. New York: Chelsea House Publishers, 1987.
Bucco, Martin, ed. Critical Essays on Sinclair Lewis. Boston: G.K. Hall & Co., 1986.
Dooley, David Joseph. The Art of Sinclair Lewis. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1967.
Hutchisson, James M. The Rise of Sinclair Lewis: 19201930. University Park: Pennsylvania
State University Press, 1996.
Light, Martin. The Quixotic Vision of Sinclair Lewis. West Lafayette, Indiana: Purdue
University Press, 1975.
Lundquist, James. Sinclair Lewis. New York: Frederick Ungar Publishing Co., 1973.
Sherman, Stuart P. The Significance of Sinclair Lewis. Folcroft, Pennsylvania: Folcroft Library
Editions, 1973.
Smith, Harrison. Sinclair Lewis. New York: Harcourt and Brace, 1925.

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In Text Citation

Their conversation is awkward, especially when she mentions Wickham, a subject Darcy
clearly wishes to avoid (SparkNotes Editors).
Their conversation is awkward, especially when she mentions Wickham, a subject Darcy
clearly wishes to avoid (SparkNotes Editors, n.d.).

The Chicago Manual of Style

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Table of Contents
in-depth analysis of Martin Arrowsmith.
in-depth analysis of Max Gottlieb.
in-depth analysis of Leora Tozer.