Summary and Analysis Chapter 39



Returning to Gopher Prairie of her own volition, Carol finds that some of her old acquaintances have missed her, something that would not occur in Washington. The town has not changed, however, except for the new school building, seven new bungalows, and two garages. The men, including Dr. Westlake and Sam Clark, talk over her intimate problems in a barber shop conference and decide to let her live. Curiously, Maud Dyer seems to resent Carol's return. Few people ask about Carol's experiences in Washington.

In August, the second Kennicott baby is born, a girl. Dr. Kennicott and Carol are beginning to disagree in regard to discipline for little Hugh.

The Kennicotts and the Clarks go duck hunting together one autumn day. For the first time, Carol willingly sits on the back seat of the car with Mrs. Clark and agrees to go to the movies the next night instead of reading a book. When a Community Day is to be planned, Carol disagrees with the Mayor, an ex-bartender, about the program, but she finally gives in. She predicts a world of many changes for her infant daughter. Carol feels that she may not have won the battle against mediocrity but that she has at least kept fighting. Her husband is occupied with storm windows and the coming snowstorm as the narrative comes to a close.


The long, episodic, and almost plotless story of Carol Kennicott and her struggles with Gopher Prairie finally ends, with Sinclair Lewis solving hardly any of the problems which still confront his heroine. Her child, however, will see great changes if she were alive today, for the problems of today are not those of a single generation.

Back to Top