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Carol revels in the freedom she experiences in Washington. She finds housework to be less tedious when she is not interrupted. She enjoys free Sundays and also the freedom of not having to give an account to Kennicott At last she feels that she is "no longer one-half of a marriage but the whole of a human being". She also discovers that the world outside Gopher Prairie did not need her inspiration. She finds her work of filing correspondence and dictating letters to be monotonous.
The buildings of Washington are beautiful and she loves walking past them trying to imagine the people they housed. She realizes that Gopher Prairie lacked this element of mystery. In her free time she finds Negro shanties turned into studios and marble houses with butlers and limousines. Her days pass very swiftly. In the midst of the big city she finds people seeking their own kind and bonding to retain their small town ideas intact. The members of the Tincomb Church are suspicious of flippant newspapermen and infidel scientists. She finds the same dullness of Gopher Prairie in many people of Washington. She finds any number of Sam Clarks and Bogarts. She is also lucky enough to find many people who do not confirm to the small town ideas. She considers herself to be fortunate to be in the company of the suffrage movement activists.
Whatever she sees or whomever she admires she feels compelled to defend in her imaginary conversation with Kennicott. When she feels proud of the youngsters of Washington, she visualizes Kennicott ticking them off as a bunch of impractical theorists and when she appreciates the courtesy of the men she remembers Kennicott asserting that the villager's poverty does not give him the confidence to be courteous. She finds out that Sam Clark or Kennicott made a lot more money than the courteous people she met did. She also discovers that it is men like Kennicott, who keep aside money for old age, who end up in the poorhouse by the folly of investing their money in spurious oil stocks.
Carol's career does not rise to great heights. But she gains courage and poise. She learns to view her life objectively and acknowledge her faults.