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Themes in Main Street

Themes Examples in Main Street:

Chapter XIII

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"Village Virus..."   (Chapter XIII)

The "Village Virus" overtakes professional people who settle down for too long in small towns. Lewis's disdain for small town America is especially evident here; successful professionals become attached to the simplicity and easiness of uninspired, unambitious small town life because they are afraid of failing in the larger world. They become complacent, opting to remain in their "swamp." Guy has been infected, so he remains out of laziness and fear.

"It is dullness made God...."   (Chapter XXII)

Carol compares two common assumptions about small towns: that they are places of refuge (idyllic and peaceful) or settings for a comedy filled with ignorant hicks. Carol disagrees; she is disgusted to discover that small town life consists of "slavery self-sought and self-defended." Small town living is devoid of ambition, curiosity, and personal challenge; instead, people are automatons living complacent, unremarkable, unproductive lives—all while "viewing themselves as the greatest race in the world."

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