SISTER CARRIE

SISTER CARRIE

3.6 103
by Theodore Dreiser
     
 

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Chapter I

THE MAGNET ATTRACTING: A WIFE AMID FORCES


When Caroline Meeber boarded the afternoon train for Chicago, her total
outfit consisted of a small trunk, a cheap imitation alligator-skin
satchel, a small lunch in a paper box, and a yellow leather snap purse,
containing her ticket, a scrap of paper with her sister's address in

Overview

Chapter I

THE MAGNET ATTRACTING: A WIFE AMID FORCES


When Caroline Meeber boarded the afternoon train for Chicago, her total
outfit consisted of a small trunk, a cheap imitation alligator-skin
satchel, a small lunch in a paper box, and a yellow leather snap purse,
containing her ticket, a scrap of paper with her sister's address in Van
Buren Street, and four dollar in money. It was in August, 1889. She was
eighteen years or age, bright, timid, and full of the illusions of
ignorance and youth. Whatever touch of regret at parting characterized
her given up. A gush of tears at her mother's farewell kiss, mill where
her father worked by the day, a pathetic sigh as the familiar green
environs of the village passed in review and the threads which bound her
so lightly to girlhood and home were irretrievably broken.

To be sure there was always the next station, where one might descend
and return. There was the great city, bound more closely by these very
trains which came up daily. Columbia City was not so very far away, even
once she was in Chicago. What pray, is a few hours a few hundred miles?
She looked at the little slip bearing her sister's address and wondered.
She gazed at the green landscape, now passing in swift review until her
swifter thoughts replaced its impression with vague conjectures of what
Chicago might be.

When a girls leaves her home at eighteen, she does one of two things.
Either she falls into saving hands and becomes better, or she rapidly
assumes the cosmopolitan standard of virtue and becomes worse. Of an
intermediate balance, under the circumstances, there is no possibility.
The city has its cunning wiles, no less than the infinitely smaller and
more human tempter. There are large forces which allure with all the
soul fullness of expression possible in the most cultured human. The
gleam of a thousand lights is often as effective as the persuasive light
in a wooing and fascinating eye. Half the undoing of the unsophisticated
and natural mind is accomplished by forces wholly superhuman. A blare of
to the astonished scenes in equivocal terms. Without a counselor at hand
to whisper cautious interpretation what falsehoods may not these things
breathe into the unguarded ear! Unrecognized for what they are, their
beauty, like music, too often relaxes, then wakens, then perverts the
simpler human perceptions.

Caroline, or Sister Carrie, as she had been half affectionately termed
by the family, was possessed of a mind rudimentary in its power of
observation and analysis. Self-interest with her was high, but not
strong. It was nevertheless, her guiding characteristic. Warm with the
fancies of youth, pretty with the insipid prettiness of the formative
period, possessed of a figure promising eventual shapeliness and an eye
alight with certain native intelligence she was a fair example of the
middle American class two generations removed from the emigrant. Books
were beyond her interest knowledge a sealed book. In the intuitive
graces she was still crude. She could scarcely toss her head gracefully.
Her hands were almost ineffectual. The feet, though small were set
flatly. And yet she was interested in her charms, quick to understand
the keener pleasures of life, ambitious to gain in material things. A
half-equipped little knight she was, venturing to reconnoiter the
mysterious city and dreaming wild dreams of some vague, far-off
supremacy, which should make it prey and subject the proper penitent,
groveling at a women's slipper.

"That," said a voice in her ear, "is one of the prettiest little resorts
in Wisconsin."

"Is it?" she answered nervously. The train was just pulling out of
Waukesha. For some time she had been conscious of a man behind. She felt
him observing her mass of hair. He had been fidgeting, and with natural
intuition she felt a certain interest growing in that quarter. Her
maidenly reserve, and a certain sense of what was conventional under the
circumstances, called her to forestall and deny this familiarity, but
the daring and magnetism of the individual, born of past experience and
triumphs, prevailed. She answered. He leaned forward to put his elbows
upon the back of her seat and proceeded to make himself volubly
agreeable.

"Yes, that is a great resort for Chicago people. The hotels are swell.
You are not familiar with this part of the country, are you?"

"Oh, yes I am," answered Carrie. "That is, I live at Columbia City. I
have never been through here, though."

"And so this is your first visit to Chicago," he observed. All the time
she was conscious of certain features out of the side of her eye.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
2940012375407
Publisher:
SAP
Publication date:
03/29/2011
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
File size:
408 KB

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Sister Carrie (Barnes & Noble Classics Series) 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 103 reviews.
dubsbox More than 1 year ago
After having read this book, it's interesting to read it's summary here on bn.com. I found there to be much more depth to the story and the theme more along the lines of "the impact of materialism on one's character" than fate vs. free-will. From my perspective, Carrie went from being innocent, to greedy/self-absorbed and finally to one aware of their own insignificance within the world. This is by no means an uplifting book, but it is definitely relevant today. Many of the attitudes depicted among the characters here are quite prolific in our society today, although with a bit of modernity. The corrosive selfishness and denial present throughout the story are just as damaging in our lives today. Dreiser, with his simple language and direct story-telling, made it very easy for me to sympathize and subsequently criticize the various characters. Many shades of grey make the characters very real and reminiscent of those we know today. Aside from the emotional draw to the characters, I found their overall presence to be convincing and realistic. Not once did I find myself thinking that these could not have been "real" people either today or "back then." There were moments where the story did slow down a bit and I was left wondering "what next?" Then the next turn came and I was further engaged. Overall, the story keeps a decent pace and I found this to be an enjoyable read. Dreiser does a nice job of tying up loose ends at the end, although it does feel a bit like an afterthought.
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Blue_StockingNYC More than 1 year ago
Dreiser took realism a step further with his socially provocative and politicized writing. "Sister Carrie" shocking in its day is now a deeply satisfying read.
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The writing style took me a few pages to get used to. Or perhaps in keeping with that style, I should say, I found the style of writing to be at first encounter a bit more out of fashion than one might have anticipated. The story was engaging, though a bit melodramatic. Good read, all in all.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Errors in punctuation, verbage, syntax. It's as though it had been transcribed by one unaccustomed to the English language. Try for a better transcription.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Dale Zapata More than 1 year ago
This edition has a bunch of typos, misformattings, etc. The worst part is that I e-mailed Barnes and Noble about a refund and to ask to have it removed, but they're pretty terrible in dealing with this kind of thing.
ladycatlover More than 1 year ago
One of the best books ever written, Sister Carrie is a great study of a timeperiod, but more importantly, of human character. While it is an older book it's very fresh and does not feel antiquated. Drieser is an amazing author. Not to be missed.
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