Next to the widow Bogart, the most repulsive characters in the novel are Dr. Kennicott's Aunt Bessie and her husband, Uncle Whittier Smail. Coming from North Dakota, they took up residence uninvited in the Kennicott house and assumed the privilege as relatives of dictating to Carol, whom they considered impractical and absurd. Aunt Bessie joined with Mrs. Bogart in spreading the town gossip. Even after they moved into their own home, the Smails' attitude did not improve.

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As research for Carol's new Gopher Prairie Dramatic Association, she and her husband attend several plays in

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