Dr. Will Kennicott
Dr. Kennicott's prototype was Dr. E. J. Lewis, the author's father. There is also some reflection of the personality of Dr. Claude Lewis, an eminent surgeon, who was the second son of the family. Like the elder Dr. Lewis, Carol's husband had had fine training and was capable of handling emergencies. The novelist, however, felt that his father never forgave him for this characterization and for the satire on Sauk Centre. The similarity between Dr. E. J. Lewis and Kennicott, however, was intended to be complimentary.
Dr. Kennicott is stable, competent, reliable, and unexciting. He remains undisturbed by the cultural monotony of his home town. While Carol is thinking about beautifying Gopher Prairie, he may be thinking about land deals, storm windows, hunting, or his cases. He does not appreciate poetry or intellectual drama, yet he has intelligence, dignity, and rare ability to meet crises, especially those arising in his practice. H. L. Mencken says, "To Will Kennicott as to most other normal American males, life remains simple; do your work, care for your family, buy your Liberty Bonds, root for your home team, help to build up your lodge, venerate your flag." Sincere though somewhat stodgy, Dr. Kennicott is the most lifelike character in the book. He is a suitable foil for the imaginative and restless Carol. He sets her on a pedestal and loves and admires her, regardless of her vagaries.