In a notable passage Lewis tells us sympathetically of the problems of the rebel, of the preacher or the writer who suffers from sensitivity and innocence:. He is tested by temptation and almost capitulates, but is then wrongly accused by the jilted temptress. How long would a drunkard listen to the counsel of one who had never been inside a saloon? Archived from the original on George Selk as Valet. She runs from the church, followed by Gantry, who later finds her being beaten by her pimp for refusing Sharon’s payment.

The evangelist Sharon Falconer, although she is not attached to any particular church, is no exception to the anti-religion theme. He is immediately taken with Sister Sharon Falconer, a lay preacher whose hellfire-and-damnation revivalism has attracted quite a following. Nevertheless, it is possible to recognize the working of quixotic elements throughout the novel, especially in the fancifully conceived Sharon Falconer and in the character who is a foil for Elmer, Frank Shallard. Throughout the novel, clergymen and the church are presented in an extremely unflattering light. But throughout his career he wonders whether there is any value in his work. Tim Salmons Super Reviewer. Besides being an effective satire targeted against religious hypocrisy, Elmer Gantry provides insight into the clash of cultural forces in America in the s.

Elmer, after all, is not an idealist; though he ventures forth, he does not do so in the name of chivalry; and, finally, he does not practice the transmuting powers of fancy.

Jim, who has overheard them, laughingly tells Gantry he could be “the most successful eler in the circus.

Elmer Gantry – Wikipedia

Elmer seems a demonic figure. Home Arts Educational magazines Elmer Gantry. This movie has a good story and actors, I didn’t get to see the end, though, so I should watch this movie again.

Elmer Gantry and his roommate, Jim Lefferts, have traveled from their college in Kansas to Cato, Missouri, to see their girlfriends.

She is also a pious churchgoer who has always wanted Elmer to become a preacher. Although Bill offers Gantry control of the ministry, promising to rebuild, Gantry responds by quoting the Bible: The fantry president declares that he is a born preacher, and everyone urges him to become a minister.


After several years as a travelling salesman of farm equipment, he becomes manager for Sharon Falconer, an itinerant evangelist.

Elmer Gantry

On the train he meets a traveling salesman who invites him for a drink, which results in Elmer failing to keep his appointment at the church. Willoughby Quarles is president of Terwillinger College. Oh, and a fantastic script from beginning to end. Enter your email address and we’ll send you instructions on how to access your account. But Frank rages on at the inconsistencies in doctrine, the contradictions in the Bible, the evil men who are ministers, and the fools and dullards who work about him in Zenith: Some day he would be a bishop, yes, but even that was nothing compared with the fact that he had won a victory over his lower nature.

Thanks to Gantry’s enthusiastic hellfire-and-brimstone sermons, Sister Sharon’s operation rises to fame and fortune, enough so that Sharon realizes her dream of building her own enormous tabernacle.

Elmer’s presence is against the wishes of Sister Sharon’s manager, William Morgan, who sees through Elmer’s smooth-talking veneer, although he can’t argue with the bottom line that Elmer brings to the meetings.

But he is caught stealing from the collection and is fired. In the novel, people in Nebraska say that Sharon Falconer compares with the great evangelists of the past, naming Gipsy Smith as one of them. But a grand jury investigation found that McPherson had spent a pleasant month in Mexico with a married man from her church.

He is a simple, decent, pious man who is loved by his congregation. Lewis seems to have had a particular loathing of the conversion experience that is so central to Protestant spirituality.

Elmer Gantry also appears as a minor character in two later, lesser-known Lewis novels: He was saturated with it—the sermons, hymns, Bible stories, funerals, weddings, Sunday schools. Ray Walker as Friend. It almost seems like a lynchpin or things to come in the decade. Howard Bancock Binch is a prominent Baptist who defends the literal interpretation of the Bible in his writings.


In response, Eddington allows Gantry broadcast time on his radio station, paid for by Babbitt. He marries well and eventually obtains a large congregation in Lewis’s fictional Midwestern city of Zenith. You may have noticed some of the recent changes we have made. Elmer loves to preach against immorality but feels no need to be moral himself. Sharon Falconer is a charismatic evangelist who travels around the country holding spectacular revival meetings.

After Elmer dumps her for Hettie, Lulu loses interest in life. Please confirm or enter it below to complete your profile. Elmer meets up again with Lulu, now married to Floyd Naylor, and they resume their flirtation. Reviewers were divided on the merits of the novel.

Bill urges Sharon to fire Gantry, but she believes them a good pair, and is further convinced when they are invited to perform in Zenith, the biggest city in the Midwest. He cribs some passages from a book and then gives a rousing sermon. InLewis refused the Pulitzer Prize for Arrowsmithbecause he believed it would compromise his artistic independence.

At Sparta, Elmer gains statewide fame for his sensational sermons denouncing drinking and other sins. Binch is brought on for one five-page section of chapter 14, when Elmer and Sharon happen to meet him in Joliet and lunch with him.

It is not merely a case of the good priest versus the bad priest. He speaks in many big cities and acquires a new secretary, Hettie Bowler, with whom he has an affair. They were intended to feed the American dream, but instead fashioned the nightmare—out of books!

Undoubtedly many of the excesses Lewis describes, especially those connected with revivalism, deserve the treatment they get. Elmer Gantry is a picaresque novel.