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This chapter describes the aftermath of Vidaís bombshell. Carol feels devastated. She watches for signs of derision whenever she meets people. She deliberately avoids them. She feels haunted by the inquisitive prying eyes. But for all the agony she suffers, Carol becomes attentive to people and notices many signs of which she was ignorant. She finds ladies observing her closely and also notices the rudeness of the merchants. When they mouth platitudes like Ďone man is as good as anotherí Carol remembers that they do not remember it when they deal with farmers who suffer a crop failure. Though she loves elegance, she prefers to shop at the Axelís which is always in a chaotic condition, only because she wants to avoid the prying crowd of Gopher Prairie.
The boys of Gopher Prairie augment Carolís misery. The novelist draws a pen portrait of the American youth of his time. Their idea of fun is pathetic. In their loafing and catcalling Carol can not find a brave new generation but finds only a generation that apes its elders in analyzing people and passing personal remarks. Carolís vulnerablity is revealed in the way she fears the boys. This is one of Carolís shortcomings. A crusader does not care for peopleís criticism nor is he/she afraid of anybody. A crusader does not long to belong.
Carolís agony is increased by the news that Kennicott used to chew tobacco. A romantic at heart, she does not find it an attractive vice. She feels that she would not have minded gambling or even a mistress. She tries to come to terms with it by reminding herself that even she had flaws like dirty paws or itching skin.
Carol demonstrates her independence in refusing to follow Vida Sherwin like a lamb. She knows in her heart of hearts that Bea Sorenson is the best friend she has. She tries to avoid people. She goes out only with Kennicott or she prefers to stay at home. This behavior is very unlike Carolís real self. But it is a phase as indicated in the following chapters, which helps Carol to evolve her own strategy to cope with the people who criticize her.