Carol tries to keep herself as busy as possible in order to avoid thinking too much about her crummy life. She's happy when Vida Sherwin's husband Raymie finally comes back from the war.
Gopher Prairie is booming because the price of wheat has been crazy high during the war. Still, all the money ends up funneling into the pockets of the rich people in town. The farmers and laborers are no better off.
A dude named James Blausser comes to Gopher Prairie to help turn the town into a modern American city. He starts a whole advertising campaign around how great Gopher Prairie is. Everyone gets into the new sense of town pride except Carol, and Will gets really annoyed with her for it. He thinks that she's just a stick in the mud determined never to be happy.
Carol is amazed that a town could be so successful and not introduce a single scrap of high culture.