"Make the town--well--make it artistic. ..."
See in text (Chapter II)
Will attempts to lure Carol to Gopher Prairie by urging her to "make it artistic." Will has ulterior motives; he wants Carol to move to Gopher Prairie as his wife, so he appeals to her sense of idealism. Carol is intrigued by the "missionary" spirit, which in this case centers on small town reform.
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"It is dullness made God...."
See in text (Chapter XXII)
Carol compares two common assumptions about small towns: that they are places of refuge (idyllic and peaceful) or settings for a comedy filled with ignorant hicks. Carol disagrees; she is disgusted to discover that small town life consists of "slavery self-sought and self-defended." Small town living is devoid of ambition, curiosity, and personal challenge; instead, people are automatons living complacent, unremarkable, unproductive lives—all while "viewing themselves as the greatest race in the world."
"I think it's a greatness of life--a refusal to be content with even the healthiest mud."..."
See in text (Chapter XXXVI)
Carol won't settle for the unsatisfying, unhappy life she's been living in Gopher Prairie. Carol wants more than to be impressed and entertained, however; she wants to make a difference and lead a meaningful life, which is what Will promised her when he first proposed. Even if life in Gopher Prairie is fairly easy, she refuses "to be content with even the healthiest mud."
"I may not have fought the good fight, but I have kept the faith."..."
See in text (Chapter XXXIX)
Carol refuses to give up her hope of reforming Gopher Prairie, though she wasn't able to change the small town in the years since her marriage to Will. She paraphrases St. Paul's words from II Timothy 4:7: though she may not have succeeded ("fought the good fight"), she has "kept the faith" by not giving up on her aspirations.