Arrowsmith tells the story of bright and scientifically minded Martin Arrowsmith as he makes his way from a small town in the Midwest to the upper echelons of the scientific community. (He is born in Elk Mills, Winnemac, the same fictional state in which several of Lewis's other novels are set.) Along the way he experiences medical school. He becomes engaged to one woman, cheats on her with another woman, becomes engaged to the second woman and then finally invites both women to a lunch to settle the issue. He eventually insults his mentor, Max Gottlieb, and is suspended from medical school.