Arrowsmith Background

Arrowsmith Background

The original winner of the 1926 Pulitzer Prize before the award was refused by the author, Arrowsmith is a 1925 novel by Sinclair Lewis. The book covers the topic of science culture, specifically the medicine field, during the time period.

The protagonist of Arrowsmith is Martin Arrowsmith, an ambitious and clever up and coming scientist who is steadily climbing the social ladder of the scientific community. He works many jobs and experiences a variety of things throughout his journey, including the arduous endeavor of medical school, as well as being a regional health official. However, Arrowsmith's most important undertaking so far is when he is invited to work in an eminent New York research institute, where he must work with contagious plague viruses in a highly hazardous setting. Throughout all of these experiences, Arrowsmith is futilely searching for his true calling in life, ultimately deciding to abandon prestigious high-paying jobs in favor of conducting his own independent studies.

Arrowsmith is universally recognized as an extremely influential and well-written piece of literature. However, when the novel was presented the Pulitzer Prize in 1926, Sinclair Lewis declined the award, citing his personal philosophies on awards: that they truly cause more harm than they are useful. Regardless, the book was successfully adapted into a film in 1931, which was nominated for four Academy Awards.

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