Arrowsmith By Sinclair Lewis Summary and Analysis Chapter III

Summary

Two more teachers in the medical school of the University of Winnemac are introduced: Back Bay Bostonian Dr. John A. Robertshaw, professor of physiology, and Dr. Oliver O. Stout, professor of anatomy. Both are erudite but colorless men. Members of Digamma Pi, thirty in number, aid each other in memorizing long anatomical lists of nerves and muscles while devouring their meals.

Clif Clawson, always the practical joker, drops a pancreas into the hat of a visiting banker on tour of the university, much to the chagrin of Dr. Stout and the secretary of the medical school. Reverend Ira Hinkley, who witnesses the act, threatens to expose Clawson but is dissuaded by Martin and Angus Duer.

Martin's two companions, Clif Clawson and Angus Duer, show him different worlds in the city of Zenith. With Clif, Martin drinks beer and discusses unfavorably various campus practices and personalities. With Angus Duer, Martin attends a concert of classical music and begins to realize his deficiency in knowledge of literature, music, and art.

Madeline Fox, "a handsome, high-colored, high-spirited, opinionated girl whom Martin had known in college," is a graduate student in English, preparing to teach. Martin feels that she possesses the culture which he lacks and that in addition she is "so darn lovely." Their romance is delayed, however, by his intense studying for final examinations.

Fatty Pfaff is a special problem to his fraternity brothers because of his inability to remember facts in spite of frantic coaching until two o'clock in the morning. Finally the president of Digamma Pi stuffs a "crib" in Fatty's pocket, which he stoutly refuses to use but to which he refers in desperation during the exam. He gets through.

Martin's fraternity brothers tire of his critical attitude and his exalted opinion of Gottlieb. Duer sourly reminds him of his lack of knowledge of foreign languages, architecture, important novels, and current events. Martin should "shut up or get out."

Clif Clawson withdraws from Digamma Pi after many clashes with Angus Duer, and Martin also resigns, planning to room with Clif the following autumn. That summer Martin spends with a crew installing telephone lines in Montana. On his return to medical school, he is to realize at last his ambition of working with Gottlieb. He is thinking also of Madeline Fox, Clif Clawson, and Angus Duer.

Analysis

This chapter introduces several new characters: Professors Robertshaw and Stout, and the first woman to appear in the story, Madeline Fox. The ways of medical students of the times are reflected and also satirized in the horseplay of Clif Clawson, the cold and superior attitude of Angus Duer, and the condoning of "cribbing" in Fatty Pfaff. Martin is led to realize his own shortcomings through the caustic comments of his contemporaries. The chapter looks forward to two things for Martin: a romance with Madeline Fox and a year under the tutelage of Gottlieb.

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