Sinclair Lewis - Main Street (1920)
24 Sourced Quotes
I think perhaps 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 politicians and priests and cautious reformers... coax us, 'Be calm! Be patient! Wait! We have the plans for a Utopia already made; just 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.
Once she kidnapped me and drug me to the Methodist Church. I goes in, pious as Widow Bogart, and sits still and never cracks a smile while the preacher is favoring us with his misinformation on evolution. But afterwards, when the old stalwarts were pumphandling everybody at the door and calling 'em 'Brother' and 'Sister,' they let me sail right by with nary a clinch.
Think how much better it is to criticize conventional customs if you yourself live up to them, scrupulously. Then people can't say you're attacking them to excuse your own infractions. Yes, I've heard that plea.... To word it differently, 'You must live up to the popular code if you believe in it; but if you don't believe in it, then you must live up to it!'
A village in a country which is taking pains to become altogether standardized and pure, which aspires to succeed Victorian England as the chief mediocrity of the world, is no longer merely provincial, no longer downy and restful in its leaf-shadowed ignorance. It is a force seeking to conquer the earth.