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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 initiating 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 hometwon of Sauk Centre, Minnesota, the prototype for Gopher Prairie.
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