Daryl’s Buttons Quote: What has Being Out There Revealed About Carol? (Part 3)


Daryl Dixon was talking about more than horses when he said, “The longer they’re out there, the more they become what they really are.”  Carol Peletier has had tremendous evolution and seems to be a completely different woman from the one we met at the quarry camp in season one.  Does that mean this badass Carol is who she always was? Carol has been tough for me to figure out from the beginning. I’ve always loved her character even when I’ve been frustrated with her or disagreed with her. I could never say I’ve got her pegged, but I think I’ve figured out something that the apocalypse has revealed about her.

I think Carol is an emotional being and enjoys helping people. I think she loves deeply and feels deeply. Whatever drew her to Ed and that abusive situation is unknown to us, but something we can infer is that a coping mechanism she employed during that time was to block things out and to focus on her daughter and on helping people and being nice to people. Maybe she could make life nice with other people and forget her own dismal situation.

We see this blocking out in place at the camp. She appears happy. She does laundry and nice things for others, seeking happiness and approval from those outside her family. At Hershel’s farm, even after Ed is gone, she suggests making dinner for the family as a thank you gesture, but doesn’t feel worthy enough to suggest it herself and asks Lori to do so.  She blocks things out almost immediately after Sophia comes out of the barn. She doesn’t want to attend the service. She tells Daryl (and herself) that Sophia has been gone a long time.

This is the beginning of her transition to tougher,  colder Carol, but she still uses the coping mechanism of avoidance and blocking out. She tells herself and others that you have to fight and fight and then you finally change. She began to try to change others and get them to learn her lessons. She didn’t want them to suffer. She became impatient with emotion and fear and optimism. That’s when I became somewhat impatient with her. She didn’t allow others to learn their own lessons because she wanted to help them so badly. She wanted to cover them with the coldness, fight and armor that she wore now. But under the armor, her reason for wearing the armor in the first place still existed.

Carol is still on her path of making the tough decisions necessary in this new world. Her armor of cold pragmatism is still serving her and even bonding her to Rick. The little boy Sam is perhaps the key to helping Carol reveal who she truly is by releasing some of who she was never allowed to be in the old world and adding that to who she has become in the new world, which will help our group become better and the new world become better as well.