Carol sees the happiness that Vida Sherwin has after getting married and wishes she could be happy in the same way. Her new solution to dealing with her situation is to read more and to find out what kinds of ideas women in her situation are starting to have all over the U.S.
The more she reads, the more Carol develops grand theories of how towns like Gopher Prairie work behind the scenes. She hates the fact that the town takes all of the interesting things about people who move there and grind them all into dullness.
Carol takes her new ideas about why Gopher Prairie stinks and tells them to Vida. Vida is more satisfied with her life than she's ever been, though, and she dismisses Carol as a Negative Nelly.
Vida also tells Carol that the town will be building a new school—no thanks to Carol's involvement.
Carol realizes that even if something does happen to make the town better, she won't be involved, because people don't like her.