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The Job

Sinclair Lewis

Book Overview: 

‘The Job’ is an early work by American novelist Sinclair Lewis. It is considered an early declaration of the rights of working women. The focus is on the main character, Una Golden, who desires to establish herself in a legitimate occupation while balancing the eventual need for marriage. The story takes place in the early 1900-1920’s and takes Una from a small Pennsylvania town to New York. Forced to work due to family illness, Una shows a talent for the traditional male bastion of commercial real estate and, while valued by her company, she struggles to achieve the same status of her male coworkers. On a parallel track, her quest for traditional romance and love is important but her unique role as a working woman… makes it tough to find an appropriate suitor. (Summary by Wikipedia)

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .e pavement you could see a slit of softer sky, and there was a peculiar radiance in just the light itself, whether it lay along the park turf or made its way down an air-well to rest on a stolid wall of yellow brick. The river breeze, flowing so persuasively through streets which had been stormed by dusty gales, bore happiness. Grind-organs made music for ragged, dancing children, and old brick buildings smelled warm. Peanut-wagons came out with a long, shrill whine, locusts of the spring.

In the office even the most hustling of the great ones became human. They talked of suburban gardens and of motoring out to country clubs for tennis. They smiled more readily, and shamelessly said, “I certainly got the spring fever for fair to-day”; and twice did S. Herbert Ross go off to play golf all afternoon. The stenographer who commuted—always there is one girl in the office who[66] commutes—brought spring in the form of pussy-willows and apple-blo. . . Read More

Community Reviews

The setting is New York City, the time period is just pre-WWI, and the heroine Una is a New Woman who leaves her small town with her widowed mother and strikes out as a stenographer in the Big City. Along the way she loves and loses her True Love, makes a mistake of a marriage, and finally finds her

Just finished this. Very good. If you enjoyed Arrowsmith and Main Street you'll enjoy this one.

This was one of Sinclair Lewis' earlier books but very recognizably written in his distinctive style. Most of his work was satirical looks at modern living (which for him was the very early 1900's) and the topic for this book was the emergence of women in the workplace. It followed young Una Golden

Just read this early work by Lewis. Truly progressive piece (1917) about a woman struggling to make her place in the world of work.

Classic Lewis. I love his writing and his stories of "woman alone in the big, bad city." Set in the first decade of the 20th century in New York, The Job looks at an American woman's career options: work a relatively meaningless job until you find a husband, or commit to a lifelong, relatively flat

Reading about the career of Una Golden was interesting; like his other novels, very dated, but it presents a snapshot of what America was like in the early 20th Century. Reading her adventures in commercial school, job hunting, early office jobs, etc. showed that some things remain the same after a

Una is unforgettable, that's for sure. In a way, she reminds me very much of Tarkington's "Alice Adams." No, Alice and Una don't have much in common--Una lives in the real world--a world that Alice has only visited once or maybe twice in her life.

What they both are is real. You come away knowing th

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