Arrowsmith By Sinclair Lewis Summary and Analysis Chapter XXII

Summary

Pickerbaugh is nominated for Congress by the Republican party and leaves Martin in charge of the Department while the candidate is out campaigning. One of Martin's first acts as director is to quarantine Klopchuk's dairy and one of the milkers with a chronic sore throat, found to be streptococcus. An epidemic is threatened. A specialist from Chicago is called in, and he agrees with Arrowsmith. Irving Watters, Klopchuk's physician, considers Martin an alarmist.

The Arrowsmiths become close friends of the Clay Tredgolds, "on the loftiest plains of Nautilus society." Martin gives an imitation of Pickerbaugh, and Leora is proud of him. Martin and Leora are henceforth accepted by the "Smart Set" of Nautilus, including the Schlemihls and the Mugfords, even higher in the social scale than the Tredgolds. Soon the young doctor and his wife are members of an exclusive country club, whose members are very rich.

Leora belongs to a bridge club and goes to the movies alone. Yet her one expressed aspiration is to go to France. Martin promises that they will do so some day.

Martin is to be the next director of the Department of Health. Pickerbaugh observes that the young man lacks only one quality: pulling together with others.

Analysis

The rapid rise of the Arrowsmiths in the social world is paralleled by Martin's rise to the directorship of the Department of Health. "I won't lay down!" he exclaims ungrammatically. "I'll fight!"

Leora, by her refusal to imitate her fashion-plate associates in dress, remains the sloppy but faithful wife, always putting her husband's interests above her own.

The wealthy come in for their share of satire. Motoring, drinking, dancing, and cards are their chief diversions. They are most interested in cars, shower baths, stylish clothing, "impersonally decorated" houses, and trips to New York or Paris. Today such things are called status symbols.

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