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Why are Therese and Carol so into each other?
deleted member Nov 30, 2015 10:32AM
I understand the initial attraction. Carol looking exactly like the woman Therese would one day want to become and Carol wanting an escape from the terrible things she was going through. But why did they keep coming back to each other?

In my experience when two people share something similar, similar situation, say an abusive childhood, they find it fun to hang out with each other and talk and share. But Carol and Therese had nothing similar and they barely talked about anything.

Or may be its like what Dannie McElroy had said, "I think friendships are the result of certain needs that can be completely hidden from both people, sometimes hidden forever."



I have been thinking about that, too. Here are some of my thoughts. I think the initial attraction (in Therese's view) was mostly Carol's beauty and charisma. She is also pretty mysterious, which Therese might find exciting. She is used to the feeling of "being loved" (by Richard) but Carol is first of all a woman, full of secrets and extremely attractive, and therefore hard to get. Maybe that's also a reason for Therese's interest in her. This could be seen as a romantic connection, or chemistry. My other "theory" is a more psychoanalytical one.

As the book progresses you learn more about two losses both women have experienced. Therese lost her mother in a certain way, for they don't speak with each other and she means nothing to Therese (so she says). Carol on the other hand is about to lose (or has already lost) her only daughter, whom she loves very much. Although Therese doesn't speak much about her mother, I certainly she misses her or has missed her as a child. And then they both meet someone who "fit" in their loss. Therese is much younger, vulnerable and in a way very dependent, and so are children. She's also extremely loyal to Carol. So in that way, they do have similarities, only in the opposite way (the loss of a mother, the loss of a daughter). On the other discussion topic some people said they were surprised by the fact that Carol kept putting Therese to bed - a thing that mothers use to do, and Carol probably used to do with Rindy. And Therese obeys, because she likes to please Carol, and is very loyal to her, which children are, towards their parents. Carol is often very cold, demanding, even rude. But Therese takes it because she feels it is not her place to argue. In my opinion, Carol is like a mother figure to her, the mother she never had. Therese is like a daughter to Carol, to fill the emptiness of the loss of Rindy.

Apart from that, I do think they are in love with each other in the romantic way, although Carol has more trouble with admitting than Therese (which is understandable considering Carol's situation). The mother-daughter theory might be just a small, underlying part of their relationship but to me it just fits perfectly.

To come back to your question: what is it that keeps them so attached - I think they need each other in the process of their own losses. Carol needs Therese. And Therese is beyond loyal to Carol. (Oh, and they love each other ;-))

Please tell me what you think of it!
By the way, I haven't seen the movie yet, but I only started reading the book after I saw the trailer, so Cate Blanchett & Rooney Mara were the perfect Carol and Therese to me. What did you think of the movie?


Anita (last edited Dec 02, 2015 06:42PM ) Dec 02, 2015 06:41PM   1 vote
Chemistry, perhaps? That is not always easy to define.


Iris (last edited Dec 03, 2015 05:58PM ) Dec 03, 2015 10:52AM   0 votes
I like Anita's response. Chemistry did play a big part I believe, but it could also be escapism. Kindred spirits. An undefined understanding that the two characters shared. Have you never seen someone at a glance or a distance and just know that you two would hit it off? It doesn't even have to be romantically. You just have to see someone to know that they're your kind of person.

Therese saw Carol and was drawn to her because of one of these things. And it then grew into something more personal than any of those things. Carol saw Therese and realized that Therese realized that there was something there, and that alone is enough to spark something in her.

This is a difficult question to answer because I think with each reader they link the two together for different reasons. The only two who can really answer this question would be Therese and Carol themselves.


They both give each other something they need. For Carol-she gets the daughter she will never have now. And for Therese-- she gets the mother she turned her back on. I think it is so much more for these two than just the love and relationship. This book is so layered with various themes. I want to read it again.


I only write this as what I FELT about this book may be a bit different. I neither know nor care what Carol felt. For me, I imagined Therese to have been so struck by Carol or whatever it may have been that Therese went through, that I just got lost in that, in that "whatever-it-was-ness". I didn't feel the need to explain it, for once I just felt and enjoyed. A whale comes along, swallows you up and then spits you out , what can you do? sometimes (rarely) it happens.


Therese is young and worried about the future, Carol is there for Therese, offering Therese a more hopeful future. Carol has a mess at home and is worried about the present and past decisions, Therese presents to Carol a new start. But who can really say, with 100% clarity, why love happens between two adult strangers? Family and friend connections are easy, we love them just cause we do and just cause they have always been part of our lives and they accept us. But two strangers? Who really knows how and why?

deleted user Wow, another interpretation. One of the most amazing things about this particular book is the layers of meaning that seems to exist in every action, e ...more
Jan 17, 2016 08:15AM · flag

Therese yearned for the sophistication of Carol. To Therese, Carol was demure, reserved and so 'adult' and not afraid to gamble, although I sometimes mix the book and the movie. Recently there was a news clip videotaped about a tiger that came on a fawn, snack time right? The tiger adopted the fawn....Carol and Therese maybe? In both "Carol" and "Brooklyn", my other favorite book, I think the screenwriters improved the ending.


Joshie (last edited Jan 03, 2016 03:49PM ) Jan 03, 2016 03:48PM   0 votes
I agree with what everyone said here and I think I cannot add anything more but reiterate once more that I think it's also because they both have these feelings for each other and feelings that both of them feel -- loneliness, loss, emptiness, love, et cetera. I fairly think that feeling the same thing makes us closer with another human being as we can share a part of ourselves. Not only that, there is somehow someone who understands and that makes us all the more attracted to the person, not in a romantic way per se but it is there.

Also, I watched the movie and it's the most beautiful thing. It stayed very much faithful in the book with minimal tweaks here and there but still preserving its core message. The Oscar buzz surrounding it is truly deserved.

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Iris Except that it wasn't nominated for best picture. Bunch of losers choose that. ...more
Jan 21, 2016 03:39PM · flag

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