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Carol wonders about the way Vida spent her time. She herself had her hands full with attending to the baby, and handling Kennicott's phone calls, yet she read every thing, whereas Vida seemed to be happy with reading only the headlines. Vida had spent most of her life in boarding houses. Hence she enjoyed every bit of housework. But Carol can never feel contentment with all the work she has and envies Vida for feeling so satisfied with life.
She keeps up her habit of buying books. Kennicott initially wonders about her need to buy books when she had free access to all the books in the library. But he gives up the worry later on because he is convinced that it is one of her compulsions, which she picked up during her life as a librarian. She reads the books written by authors like Anatole France, Sherwood Anderson, Theodore Dreiser and such writers. She looks at Gopher Prairie through their eyes and forms her own opinions about the drawbacks of the town. Vida comes to stay in Carol's house for one night because Kennicott and Raymie have gone to inaugurate a new chapter at Wakamin. Carol expresses all her opinions to Vida.
Vida does not agree with Carol's opinions. But she listens to her patiently. In Carol's opinion there are two traditions expressed in the popular fiction of America. One is that the American village is the center of honesty and friendship and clean sweet girls. Men who find success in some other part of the country or abroad find those places vicious and always return to their villages and marry their childhood sweethearts and live happily ever after. The other tradition is the projection of the iron dogs on the lawn, gold bricks and checkers as the permanent features of a village. But Carol feels that the real symbols are cheap motor cars and unread sets of Mark Twain and oil-stocks.
The citizens of such small villages feel virtuous about their ignorance and consider anyone with better knowledge to be priggish and of doubtful virtue. If at all any venture based on knowledge or courage takes place the West and the Middle West, it is only because of the farmers and the doctors, the teachers and the lawyers and the people like Bjornstam who support them. She asserts that such people are condemned as cranks. She admits that other countries also possess dullness, meanness and bitterness. She points out that they are isolated and therefore, no threat to the world. The problem with the small American village is that it tries to dominate the rest of the world. Carol points out how the American salesman puts up cigarette advertisements in China over the arches dedicated to the sayings of Confusius. She declares that such societies do not find satisfaction until the entire world has becomes dull like them.
According to Carol, Gopher Prairie is a typical American small- town. The people there compare their town to great places like Rome and Vienna. Instead of acquiring the scientific spirit, they aim to get cheap labor for the kitchen and hope for an increase in the price of land. She is sure that things can still be better if such places were to be run by kind people like Sam Clark and Champ Perry. But unfortunately people like Haydock and the Elders who are more interested in cash and comic movies controlled them.