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Carol is beautiful and well educated. She has radical ideas. Though slender in appearance her zest for life makes her very energetic. She questions everything. This leads people to consider her to be aloof and critical. She is an incurable romantic and her pet dream is to turn a prairie village into a beautiful village full of Georgian houses and beautiful gardens.
She is a rebel because she revolts against the established ideas. She treats Bea and Mill Bjornstam as her close friends. She questions the justice behind the attack on the National Nonpartisan League organizer. She sympathizes with the farmers exploited by the merchants of Gopher Prairie. She joins the suffrage movement ready to go to jail for the cause. She leaves the security of home to rough it out in a big city like Washington, because she cannot bear to go on living in a stifling atmosphere.
She is very radical in her outlook. She sympathizes with the laborers and supports profit sharing. She believes that Rauskukle of Schoenstrom and Dawson of Gopher Prairie should use their money to make their towns look beautiful. She is ready to contribute money to buy books for the library when the stingy city fathers are not ready even to spend whatever money is left after paying for the expenditures, from the library fund. She demands that the rest room provided to the farmer's wives should be more comfortable because the merchants profited through the farmers. She considers even six dollars a week paid to the maid for helping in the house to be a pittance compared to the work they do and incurs the anger of all the members of Jolly Seventeen. She is politically correct in supporting the Russian Revolution and in believing that the Germans should not be allowed to advance. She is patriotic but she does not approve of unifying all individual cultures into one gray mass of uniformity and calling it American culture. She finds it atrocious that the American cigarette advertisements should obliterate the arches devoted to the sayings of the Chinese philosopher, Confucius in the towns of China. She prefers the charm and elegance of the villages and opposes the industrialization of Gopher Prairie much to the vexation of even Kennicott.
Her relationship with Kennicott does not observe the norms. She is different from the other wives of Gopher Prairie in the way she adores him, in the way she understands his faults. She is independent and practical enough to refuse the indignity of having to ask for money for the household expenditure. She says without mincing words that the next time Kennicott forgot to give her spending money she would not seek him to ask for it but would simply starve. She is quite cold when it comes to physical relationship. She dresses behind a screen. She even gets her own bedroom.
She is sensitive and loving. She nurses Bea and Olaf when they are affected by typhoid. She runs to help Fern when the whole town condemns her. She nurses Mrs. Perry when she falls ill. She helps Champ Perry to get a job after his wife's death so that he would not end up in a poor house.
She has her contradictions too. She believes in equality but hesitates to shake hands with the tailor and the undertaker. She is independent but at the same time she seeks the approval of the others. She loves Kennicott but rebels against his ideas. She believes in equal opportunities but when Bjornstam is able to prosper she gets worried that she can not play Lady Bountiful to them.
She leaves Kennicott and Gopher Prairie to find out her real work. She realizes her limitations when she faces the intelligent, fashionable, youngsters of Washington. Too used to the personal touch of the small town, she feels left out in the big, impersonal city. She learns to be objective in her approach and understands that she has to attack the system instead of getting hurt by the individuals. She feels reconciled with the town that was once her oppressor. She is content to hope that her daughter would continue the fight that she had started and settles down to enjoy the companionship that the small town offers.