Arrowsmith By Sinclair Lewis Essay Research Paper

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Arrowsmith By Sinclair Lewis Essay, Research Paper Arrowsmith is a classic American novel written by Sinclair Lewis. Lewis wrote this book in the early 1900 s as a current outlook on the world of science in that time. The main theme it focuses on is commercialism and its effect on science. During this time period there were many advances in the field of medicine; everyone was racing to find the cure to deadly diseases and then patent it and profit off it. Helping humanity was more of a business than a service to the human race as doctors and institutes became more and more capitalistic. Like a business trying to maximize its profit, many doctors and scientists cut corners and guessed at many things so they could get their products or methods on the market as fast as possible.

However, there were a few scientists who stayed strictly devoted to their science, not letting money, glory, and success corrupt them. Scientists such as this despised commercialism and held contempt against the other doctors and scientists who fell into that system of capitalism. The book follows the life of Martin Arrowsmith, a scientist who is torn between pure science and commercialism. He wants to be a true scientist but he is pushed into commercialism by everyone he meets, except for a select few. Among the few is Max Gottlieb, who is Martin s model for everything a true scientist should be. Gottlieb is a bacteriologist who is completely against the capitalist values of commercial doctors and scientists; he devotes himself religiously to his science, and he believes in

being completely thorough and not guessing or accepting things without completely understanding them. Terry Wickett, a disciple of Gottlieb s, holds all the same values and attitudes as Gottlieb toward capitalism and commercialism. He helps Martin break away from commercialism, and become a true scientist. Another person who greatly helps Martin in his life is his first wife, Leora Tozer, who stands by and supports Martin no matter what. She devotes herself to Martin as much as Gottlieb devotes himself to his science. She supports him in whatever decision he decides to make, she helps and comforts him in his times of need, and she remains completely loyal to him at all times, even when he is not completely loyal to her. The story starts with Martin Arrowsmith as a medical student

at Winnemac University, where he was first introduced to commercial science and pure science, and made to choose between the two. It is here that Martin first meets Max Gottlieb, who was a professor and the university and head of the bacteriology department, and becomes completely in awe of him. His classmates mock Martin for his choice in idol, because they see Gottlieb as somewhat of a failure in life, simply because he is poor and not very high standing or recognized in society, which is actually what Gottlieb prefers to be. A few of Martin s classmates that have a significant effect on his life are Ira Hinkley, Angus Duer, and Clif Clawson. Ira Hinkley is a humanitarian, self-righteous reverend who later becomes a missionary in the West Indies. He is studying medicine for the

purpose of helping humanity and gaining glory for himself along the way. Angus Duer is a social climber who is studying science more for the sake of obtaining the inherent respect held for doctors and scientists. He does all the methods and techniques with a cold precision but only because he was told to do them, not because he wants to understand why things are the way they are. Clif Clawson is completely centered on making money and being successful. He went into medical school solely because he would be able to make a lot of money being a doctor or physician. The university essentially teaches students how to make money from their knowledge through commercialism, even more than the actual medical science itself. The following passage is part of a lesson that Dr. Roscoe Geake,