ESSAY TOPICS AND REVIEW QUESTIONS

1. Trace the activities of each of the following members of Digamma Pi throughout the novel, including their influence on the career of Martin Arrowsmith and upon the development of the plot: Ira Hinkley, Clif Clawson, Angus Duer, Irving Watters.

2. Mention five doctors who strongly influence the career of Arrowsmith and explain why each one is important in the story.

3. Compare and contrast the characters of Arrowsmith’s two wives, Leora and Joyce. Include their background, social and financial status, appearance, and influence on their husband’s career.

4. Compare and contrast the characters of Gottlieb and Sondelius. Include nationality, physical appearance, knowledge of medical science, popular appeal, and the part each plays in the novel as a whole.

5. In what ways do the novels of Sinclair Lewis resemble those of Dickens? Of Mark Twain? Include purpose, development of plot and character, realism, and social criticism of the times in which each author lived.

6. In what ways may Arrowsmith be considered a satire? Give concrete examples.

7. Show how each stage of Arrowsmith’s progress is reflected in his life and work. Include Wheatsylvania, Nautilus, Chicago, New York, and the West Indies.

8. Would you have the book end differently? If so, why and how?

9. Explain what is meant by local color. Comment on several examples from the novel.

10. What to you are the points of highest interest in the narrative? Mention several, and explain your choices.

11. Discuss Arrowsmith as it reflects the life and personality of the author.

12. Discuss realism in nature and human nature as found in Arrowsmith.

13. Discuss American life of the first quarter of the twentieth century as depicted in the novel.

14. Discuss the use of satire as an urge for reform.

15. Discuss the women characters as a reflection of the times.

16. Discuss medical training and practice in the first quarter of the twentieth century as revealed in Arrowsmith.

17. Discuss Clif Clawson as a satire on the businessman.

18. Discuss Ira Hinkley as a satire on the clergy.

19. Discuss local color and its reflection of human behavior in each of the divisions of Arrowsmith.

20. Discuss the theme of devotion to work and search for truth as exemplified in Arrowsmith and Gottlieb.

-43-

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Arrowsmith: Notes
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page 1
  • Life and Background of the Author 2
  • Introduction to the Novel 4
  • A Brief Synopsis 6
  • List of Characters 7
  • Critical Commentaries 9
  • Character Analyses 37
  • Critical Essays 41
  • Essay Topics and Review Questions 43
  • Selected Bibliography 44
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