Sinclair Lewis's barbed portrait of Gopher Prairie, Minnesota, shattered the myth of the American Middle West as God's Country and became a symbol of the cultural narrow-mindedness and smug complacency of small towns everywhere. At the center of the novel is Carol Kennicott, the wife of a town doctor, who dreams of initianting social reforms and introducing art and literature to the community. The range of reactions to Main Street when it was published in 1920 was extraordinary, reflecting the ambivalence in the novel itself and Lewis's own mixed feelings about his hometown of Sauk Centre, Minnesota, the prototype for Gopher Prarie.
Businessman George F. Babbitt loves the latest appliances, brand names, and the Republican party. In fact, he loves being a Solid Citizen even more than he loves his wife. But Babbitt comes to resent the middle-class trappings he has worked so hard to acquire. Realizing that his life is devoid of meaning, he grows determined to transcend his trivial existence and search for greater purpose. Raising thought-provoking questions while yielding hilarious consequences, Babbitt's quest for meaning forces us to confront the Babbitt in ourselves - and ponder what it truly means to be an American.