Study Guide

The Price of Salt, or Carol Jealousy

By Patricia Highsmith


Bad take-out. Cheap jewelry. And jealousy. What do they all have in common? They're all things that make you green. A road trip might have all three, with weird truck stop diners, strange roadside shacks selling "genuine silver jewelry," and your friends back home feeling super jelly about all the amazing places you're going.

The road trip in The Price of Salt just has jealousy, before, during, and after Carol and Therese hit the road. When there aren't many gay and lesbian people out in the world, the competition is fierce between the few who find each other—and the ones who end up alone turn green with envy.

Questions About Jealousy

  1. Why is Abby jealous of Therese? Is there more to it than the fact that Carol has chosen Therese over Abby?
  2. At what times is Therese jealous of Abby? Should she be? When does Therese feel comfortable and stop feeling jealous of Abby?
  3. Richard initially isn't jealous of Therese's relationship with Carol. Why not? When does he start feeling jealous of Carol for spending so much time with Therese?
  4. Does Carol ever feel jealous? Or is she immune to that feeling?

Chew on This

All the jealousy in the novel stems from personal insecurity. Richard is insecure because Therese loves Carol more, while Abby is insecure because Carol feels more strongly about Therese.

Jealousy isn't automatically bad in the book—it inspires a friendly rivalry between Therese and Abby—but when Richard has his turn with the green-eyed monster, he channels his jealousy into anger and becomes destructive.