Main Street: Top Ten Quotes

Average Overall Rating: 5
Total Votes: 107
  1. The narrator commenting on young Carol Milford: "The days of pioneering, of lassies in sunbonnets, and bears killed with axes in piney clearings, are deader now than Camelot; and a rebellious girl is the spirit of that bewildered empire called the American Middlewest." (page 3)
  2. Miles Bjornstam's opinion of Gopher Prairie: "Miss Sherwin's trying to repair the holes in this barnacle-covered ship of a town by keeping busy bailing out the water. And Pollack tries to repair it by reading poetry to the crew! Me, I want to yank it up on the ways, and fire the poor bum of a shoemaker that built it so it sails crooked, and have it rebuilt right, from the keel up." (page 136)
  3. Guy Pollack describing his education: "I went to a denominational college and learned that since dictating the Bible and hiring a perfect race of ministers to explain it, God has never done much but creep around and try to catch us disobeying it." (page 182)
  4. Carol expresses her frustration at having to ask her husband for money: "Well, hereafter I'll refuse your money, as a gift. Either I'm your partner, in charge of the household department of our business, with a regular budget for it, or else I'm nothing. If I'm to be a mistress, I shall choose my lovers." (198)
  5. Carol describing what women want to Guy Pollack: "We want a more conscious life. We're tired of drudging and sleeping and dying. We're tired of seeing just a few people able to be individualists. We're tired of always deferring hope till the next generation. We're tired of hearing the politicians and priests and cautious reformers (and the husbands!) coax us, 'Be calm! Be patient! Wait! We have the plans for a Utopia already made; just give us a bit more tome and we'll produce it; trust us; we're wiser than you.' For ten thousand years they've said that. We want our Utopia now-and we're going to try our hands at it." (pages 234-235)
  6. Carol to the cast of her play: "I wonder if you can understand the 'fun' of making a beautiful thing, the pride and satisfaction of it, and the holiness!"
  7. The Narrator in describing Carol's speculations about Vida Sherwin: "The greatest mystery about a human being is not his reaction to sex or praise, but the manner in which he contrives to put in twenty-four hours a day. It is this which puzzles the longshoreman about the clerk, the Londoner about the bushman." (page 304)
  8. The narrator commenting on Vida's assertion that Carol has not suffered: "There are two insults which no human being will endure: The assertion that he hasn't a sense of humor, and the doubly impertinent assertion that he has never known trouble." (pages 428-429)
  9. Vida's reminder to Carol that she must adhere to the town's expectations if she is to be a reformer: "You must live up to popular code if you believe in it; but if you don't believe in it, then you must live up to it." (page 430)
  10. Carol to Hugh as they depart for Washington, D.C.: "We'd get sick on too many cookies, but ever so much sicker on no cookies at all." (page 486)

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