Study Guide

The Price of Salt, or Carol Love

By Patricia Highsmith


Will Ferrell and Chris Kattan aren't the only homoerotic duo asking "What is love?" and saying "Baby, don't hurt me." In The Price of Salt, Therese and Carol think the same things as they navigate their complicated relationship. Therese has only read about love in books, whereas Carol knows what love is but doesn't want to be hurt by a younger person who may just be acting on a whim. We don't know how things work out for these two in the long run, but we know that when the book ends, they've each chosen each other. Aw.

Questions About Love

  1. When does Therese fall in love with Carol? And when does Carol fall in love with Therese? Does either woman experience love at first sight?
  2. Does Richard love Therese? Why does Therese feel differently about Richard?
  3. Romantic love isn't the only love discussed in the book. Does Carol love her family?
  4. Why did Carol and Abby fall out of love? Do you believe either woman is still in love with the other?

Chew on This

Therese may or may not experience love at first sight, but she is definitely experiencing love for the first time—or at least what she thinks is love. Therese feels feelings more powerful than any she has ever felt before, and to her, that's what love is.

Carol is slow to love because she has more to lose by entering into a forbidden relationship. Because of this, she puts up a wall that Therese has to chip away at.