Sister Carrie

Sister Carrie

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781400152704
Publisher: Tantor Media, Inc.
Publication date: 09/28/2006
Series: Unabridged Classics in Audio Series
Edition description: MP3 - Unabridged CD
Product dimensions: 5.30(w) x 7.40(h) x 0.60(d)
Age Range: 14 - 18 Years

About the Author

Theodre Dreiser was born into a large and impoverished German American family in Terre Haute, Indiana, in 1871. He began his writing career as a reporter, working for newspapers in Chicago. Pittsburg, and St. Louis, until an editor friend, Arthur Henry, suggested he write a novel. The result was Sister Carrie, based on the life of Dreiser’s own sister Emma, who had run off to New York with a married man. Rejected by several publishers as “immoral”, the book was finally accepted by Doubleday and Company, and published–over Frank Doubleday’s strong objections–in 1900.

Numerous cuts and changes had been made in the lengthy original manuscript by various hands, including those of Arthur Henry, Dreiser himself. Later, when given to mythologizing his career, Dreiser was to suggest that the publishing history of Sister Carrie had been one of bowdlerization and suppression only; but the publication of his unedited manuscript by the University of Pennsylvania Press in 1981 shows that Dreiser approved and even welcomed Henry’s and Jug’s alterations. (Whether the book was ultimately improved or compromised by their liberal editing is a fascinating and as yet unresolved issue among Dreiser scholars.) Sister Carrie sold poorly, but writers like Frank Norris and William Dean Howells saw it as a breakthrough in American realism, and Dreiser’s career as a novelist was launched.

The Financer
(1912) and The Titan (1914) began his trilogy about the rise of a tycoon, but it was An American Tragedy (1925), based on newspaper accounts of a sensational murder case, which brought him fame. The novel was dramatized on Broadway and sold to Hollywood. Newly influential and affluent, Dreiser visited Russia and was unimpressed, describing his observations in the skeptical Dreiser Looks at Russia (1928). In later years, however, he became an ardent (through unorthodox) Communist, writing political Treatises such as America Is Worth Saving (1941) His artistic powers on the wane, Dreiser moved to Hollywood in 1939 and supported himself largely by the sale of film rights of his earlier works. He dies there, in 1945, at the age of seventy-four.

Read an Excerpt

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 dollars in money. It was in August, 1889. She was eighteen years of age, bright, timid, and full of the illusions of ignorance and youth. Whatever touch of regret at parting characterised her thoughts, it was certainly not for advantages now being given up. A gush of tears at her mother's farewell kiss, a touch in her throat when the cars clacked by the flour 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 girl 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 hasits cunning wiles, no less than the infinitely smaller and more human tempter. There are large forces which allure with all the soulfulness 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 sound, a roar of life, a vast array of human hives, appeal to the astonished senses in equivocal terms. Without a counsellor at hand to whisper cautious interpretations, what falsehoods may not these things breathe into the unguarded ear! Unrecognised for what they are, their beauty, like music, too often relaxes, then weakens, 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 reconnoitre the mysterious city and dreaming wild dreams of some vague, far-off supremacy, which should make it prey and subject--the proper penitent, grovelling at a woman'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 fidgetting, 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 experiences 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. Flush, colourful cheeks, a light moustache, a grey fedora hat. She now turned and looked upon him in full, the instincts of self-protection and coquetry mingling confusedly in her brain.

"I didn't say that," she said.

"Oh," he answered, in a very pleasing way and with an assumed air of mistake, "I thought you did."

Here was a type of the travelling canvasser for a manufacturing house--a class which at that time was first being dubbed by the slang of the day "drummers." He came within the meaning of a still newer term, which had sprung into general use among Americans in 1880, and which concisely expressed the thought of one whose dress or manners are calculated to elicit the admiration of susceptible young women--a "masher." His suit was of a striped and crossed pattern of brown wool, new at that time, but since become familiar as a business suit. The low crotch of the vest revealed a stiff shirt bosom of white and pink stripes. From his coat sleeves protruded a pair of linen cuffs of the same pattern, fastened with large, gold plate buttons, set with the common yellow agates known as "cat's-eyes." His fingers bore several rings--one, the ever-enduring heavy seal--and from his vest dangled a neat gold watch chain, from which was suspended the secret insignia of the Order of Elks. The whole suit was rather tight-fitting, and was finished off with heavy-soled tan shoes, highly polished, and the grey fedora hat. He was, for the order of intellect represented, attractive, and whatever he had to recommend him, you may be sure was not lost upon Carrie, in this, her first glance.

Lest this order of individual should permanently pass, let me put down some of the most striking characteristics of his most successful manner and method. Good clothes, of course, were the first essential, the things without which he was nothing. A strong physical nature, actuated by a keen desire for the feminine, was the next A mind free of any consideration of the problems or forces of the world and actuated not by greed, but an insatiable love of variable pleasure. His method was always simple. Its principal element was daring, backed, of course, by an intense desire and admiration for the sex. Let him meet with a young woman once and he would approach her with an air of kindly familiarity, not unmixed with pleading, which would result in most cases in a tolerant acceptance. If she showed any tendency to coquetry he would be apt to straighten her tie, or if she "took up" with him at all, to call her by her first name. If he visited a department store it was to lounge familiarly over the counter and ask some leading questions. In more exclusive circles, on the train or in waiting stations, he went slower. If some seemingly vulnerable object appeared he was all attention--to pass the compliments of the day, to lead the way to the parlor car, carrying her grip, or, failing that, to take a seat next her with the hope of being able to court her to her destination. Pillows, books, a footstool, the shade lowered; all these figured in the things which he could do. If, when she reached her destination he did not alight and attend her baggage for her, it was because, in his own estimation, he had signally failed.

A woman should some day write the complete philosophy of clothes. No matter how young, it is one of the things she wholly comprehends. There is an indescribably faint line in the matter of man's apparel which somehow divides for her those who are worth glancing at and those who are not. Once an individual has passed this faint line on the way downward he will get no glance from her. There is another line at which the dress of a man will cause her to study her own. This line the individual at her elbow now marked for Carrie. She became conscious of an inequality. Her own plain blue dress, with its black cotton tape trimmings, now seemed to her shabby. She felt the worn state of her shoes.

"Let's see," he went on, "I know quite a number of people in your town. Morgenroth the clothier and Gibson the dry goods man."

"Oh, do you?" she interrupted, aroused by memories of longings their show windows had cost her.

At last he had a clew to her interest, and followed it deftly. In a few minutes he had come about into her seat. He talked of sales of clothing, his travels, Chicago, and the amusements of that city.

"If you are going there, you will enjoy it immensely. Have you relatives?"

"I am going to visit my sister," she explained.

"You want to see Lincoln Park," he said, "and Michigan Boulevard. They are putting up great buildings there. It's a second New York--great. So much to see--theatres, crowds, fine houses--oh, you'll like that."

There was a little ache in her fancy of all he described. Her insignificance in the presence of so much magnificence faintly affected her. She realised that hers was not to be a round of pleasure, and yet there was something promising in all the material prospect he set forth. There was something satisfactory in the attention of this individual with his good clothes. She could not help smiling as he told her of some popular actress of whom she reminded him. She was not silly, and yet attention of this sort had its weight.

Table of Contents

I.The Magnet Attracting: A Waif Amid Forces1
II.What Poverty Threatened: Of Granite and Brass8
III.Wee Question of Fortune: Four-Fifty a Week12
IV.The Spendings of Fancy: Facts Answer with Sneers20
V.A Glittering Night Flower: The Use of a Name30
VI.The Machine and the Maiden: A Knight of To-day35
VII.The Lure of the Material: Beauty Speaks for Itself45
VIII.Intimations by Winter: An Ambassador Summoned53
IX.Convention's Own Tinder-box: The Eye That Is Green59
X.The Counsel of Winter: Fortune's Ambassador Calls64
XI.The Persuasion of Fashion: Feeling Guards O'er Its Own71
XII.Of the Lamps of the Mansions: The Ambassador's Plea78
XIII.His Credentials Accepted: A Babel of Tongues85
XIV.With Eyes and Not Seeing: One Influence Wanes92
XV.The Irk of the Old Ties: The Magic of Youth98
XVI.A Witless Aladdin: The Gate to the World107
XVII.A Glimpse Through the Gateway: Hope Lightens the Eye113
XVIII.Just Over the Border: A Hail and Farewell120
XIX.An Hour in Elfland: A Clamour Half Heard124
XX.The Lure of the Spirit: The Flesh in Pursuit134
XXI.The Lure of the Spirit: The Flesh in Pursuit141
XXII.The Blaze of the Tinder: Flesh Wars with the Flesh144
XXIII.A Spirit in Travail: One Rung Put Behind153
XXIV.Ashes of Tinder: A Face at the Window162
XXV.Ashes of Tinder: The Loosing of Stays165
XXVI.The Ambassador Fallen: A Search for the Gate169
XXVII.When Waters Engulf Us We Reach for a Star178
XXVIII.A Pilgrim, an Outlaw: The Spirit Detained186
XXIX.The Solace of Travel: The Boats of the Sea194
XXX.The Kingdom of Greatness: The Pilgrim Adream204
XXXI.A Pet of Good Fortune: Broadway Flaunts Its Joys210
XXXII.The Feast of Belshazzar: A Seer to Translate217
XXXIII.Without the Walled City: The Slope of the Years228
XXXIV.The Grind of the Millstones: A Sample of Chaff234
XXXV.The Passing of Effort: The Visage of Care241
XXXVI.A Grim Retrogression: The Phantom of Chance249
XXXVII.The Spirit Awakens: New Search for the Gate257
XXXVIII.In Elf Land Disporting: The Grim World Without263
XXXIX.Of Lights and of Shadows: The Parting of Worlds271
XL.A Public Dissension: A Final Appeal280
XLI.The Strike286
XLII.A Touch of Spring: The Empty Shell299
XLIII.The World Turns Flatterer: An Eye in the Dark306
XLIV.And This Is Not Elf Land: What Gold Will Not Buy313
XLV.Curious Shifts of the Poor320
XLVI.Stirring Troubled Waters331
XLVII.The Way of the Beaten: A Harp in the Wind340

What People are Saying About This

Robert Penn Warren

Ultimately what shocked the world in Dreiser's work was not so much the things that he presented as the fact that he himself was not shocked by them.

H. L. Mencken

American writing, before and after Dreiser's time, differed almost as much as biology before and after Darwin.

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Sister Carrie 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 25 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is the story of a young woman plagued by desire for a success she cannot fully understand or enjoy and the rather happenstance way she comes by it. The story is told with keen and absorbing psychological insight, but a psychology characterisitic of the period and Dreiser's ideas on Realism and what that entails. As an added bonus, the reader is given endless insight into the lifestyle, biases, expectations, and social rules of life in 1900's America: a bonus worth reading for. It is essential as well to read to the last sentence of the novel in order to fully appreciate Dreiser's world view and learn the fates of his characters.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It is obvious that Dreiser understood the motivations of humans, by the mind and heart. My two favorite things about the book are that, one, you truly are on a journey with the characters as their personalities and situations morph with every chapter, and two, it is such a wonderful take on human life and perspective and how, sometimes, no matter what you say or don't say, what you do, or don't do, fate unravels itself in funny, unexpected ways. Simply ingenious, probably my second favorite book ever.
Marhayter More than 1 year ago
No doubt about, this is one really good yarn.  It kept my interest throughout as the story unraveled.  A bit of a soap opera in parts, but you can't beat it for a great story.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
Sister Carrie is a tragic story by Theodore Dreiser of a girl who learns that materialism is an empty pursuit that only leads to unfulfilled dreams. The reader first meets Carrie as she travels from a small town to the endless ocean of possibilities that is Chicago. The book follows her ascent of the social ladder from poor factory worker in Chicago to respected actress in New York. The prose is filled figurative language and interesting diction and syntax, which make it easy to become absorbed in. The novel focuses on Carrie¿s emotional development rather than on plot development. This can make the plot slow at times, but teaches the reader the value of emotions and morals in a character. To those with loose morals, Sister Carrie may seem hypercritical as Dreiser condemns even the smallest moral infraction. The book does present insights about human nature including that because humans act on emotion they continually repeat their mistakes and compound their misfortunes. The first story of its kind, Sister Carrie ushered in a period of great American writing about the problems of the times, including the plight of the poor, materialism, social obligations, and others. The characters of Sister Carrie can be seen throughout literature in slightly different forms. The girl corrupted by the city, the idiotic wealthy who pay more than things are worth, and the naïve middle class constantly chasing wealth have become fixtures of American literature. Sister Carrie is at times hysterical, and at other times tear jerking, but it is the mixture that teaches valuable lessons and makes it a classic.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Fascinating reading for someone unfamiliar with the 'zeitgeist' of America in 1900. This story captures a time when things were growing here and gives a historical window into the timeframe it encompasses. Carrie becomes her own woman, but she is not 'self-made' she is a product of her two lovers assistance and resolve. This was an interesting look into the life of a woman at this time. Not unlike Chopin's Awakening in that it chronicles an woman who asserts her independence!!
jasonpettus on LibraryThing 17 days ago
(Reprinted from the Chicago Center for Literature and Photography []. I am the original author of this essay, as well as the owner of CCLaP; it is not being reprinted here illegally.) The CCLaP 100: In which I read for the first time a hundred so-called "classics," then write reports on whether or not they deserve the labelEssay #31: Sister Carrie (1900), by Theodore DreiserThe story in a nutshell:One of the last Victorian-style morality tales to make a big splash, Theodore Dreiser's 1900 Sister Carrie tells the story of late teen and rural Wisconsinite Caroline Meeber, who at the beginning of the novel moves to bustling post-Fire Chicago to start making a name for herself, staying at first with her sister Minnie and her dour Swedish husband over in the city's blue-collar west side. But alas, life in the pre-workers-rights Windy City is not exactly the bed of roses she thought it would be, with Carrie finding herself slaving away in dangerous sweatshops for almost no pay on the rare occasions she can find any work at all, becoming more afraid each day of turning into the hard, humorless housewife her older sister has become; so when she starts receiving gifts and attention from local middle-class playboy Charles Drouet, Carrie jumps at the chance, eventually even agreeing to live with him and accept an allowance even though Drouet is in not much of a mood to marry (one of the many "shocking" details that got this book banned when it first came out). Eventually, though, Carrie's charms become too tempting for Drouet's acquaintance George Hurstwood, a married retail manager living a comfortable existence up in Lincoln Park, who especially after watching Carrie's unexpectedly successful performance in a community play starts falling in love with her, eventually convincing her to leave Drouet on the promise that he will instead do the right thing and marry her (conveniently of course omitting the fact that he is already married and with children). Through a series of implausible plot developments, then (easy money stolen on a whim one night while drunk, flight from the law, a return of the money but subsequent social disgrace), the couple find themselves in 1890s New York, trying to resume a comfortable domestic life but with this becoming more and more difficult, due to the current recession and Hurstwood's lack of business contacts in this cold east-coast city. It's at this point that the plot essentially splits into two, as we watch Hurstwood's rather spectacular fall into destitution (the spending of his reserves, his stint as a train-conductor scab during a violent union strike, his eventual descent into homeless vagrancy), even as Carrie's fortunes improve just as dramatically, eventually leaving Hurstwood for a rising career on Broadway, the book ending with her rich and famous but still unhappy, and still unsure of what she wants out of life in the first place.The argument for it being a classic:The main reason this book should be considered a classic, argue its fans, is for the groundwork it laid for the literature that came right after it; because even though it was published right on the tail end of the Victorian Age, it in fact contains many of the seeds that would become the trademarks of Modernism a mere two decades later, things like an embrace of moral relativism and more prurient subject matter, not to mention a much more naturalistic writing style. In fact, it's no coincidence that Dreiser is considered one of the founders of the Naturalist school of literary thought (best typified anymore by European author Emile Zola, a writer Dreiser is often compared to), a movement similar to the Realism of Henry James and Edith Wharton of the same time period, in that both attempted to strip fiction of the flowery, overwritten purple prose so indicative of the Victorian Era. If not for the bold stylistic experiments of people like Dreiser, his fans argue, we would've never h
Clif on LibraryThing 17 days ago
Published in 1900, this book is credited with having an impact on the course of American literature. Dreiser's sparse style depicts the realities of everyday city life (Chicago and New York) at the turn of the 19th Century in a way that seems to hide nothing. It thus allows the reader to feel that they can see the characters as they really are. The novel does not judge the behavior of the characters in the story. But rather it simply lays out the story of their actions for the reader to ponder. Carrie is a woman dealt a bad hand, who determines to make the most of what she has, seizing opportunity when it is offered. Charles Drouet is a pleasure seeker, a mixture of the vulgar and the appealing. And George Hurstwood experiences what we now call a mid-life crisis and ends up losing everything in his pursuit of happiness. Of the three protagonists living in the big City, one is destroyed, one rises to the top, and the third passes through unscathed. Success appears to have nothing to do with being good or bad. But rather, people strive to do their best and things happen.Read in March, 2008
DowntownLibrarian on LibraryThing 20 days ago
A naturalistic tour de force. A good girl is led astray, and there is a downward spiral, but not exactly as you might think. Very powerful and not the book to read if you are feeling down.
hollysing on LibraryThing 20 days ago
Read by my main character, Gracie Antes in my novel, Crestmont.Carrie turned out not to be the role model Gracie had hoped for.
ALincolnNut on LibraryThing 20 days ago
This classic first novel by Theodore Dreiser tells the unlikely rags to riches tale of Carrie Meeber. But unlike the Horatio Alger tales, this is an anti-morality tale. Carrie comes to the big city, Chicago, to make a living under the supervision of her older sister and her husband. Quickly, however, Carrie attracts the attention of a playboy suitor, who begins providing for her.While under his attention, Carrie crosses path with an even more well-to-do man who becomes infatuated with her, despite having a wife and daughter. After a while, he convinces Carrie to come away with him to the even larger city, New York, where they live as husband and wife, though they are not. However, this man left Chicago under dubious circumstances (he was guilty of theft from his employer), and he is unable to secure adequate employment in New York.Over time, Carrie discovers that she does not like her limited life and begins to look for work opportunities in the theater. She gains employment, based on her appearance, and gradually becomes a better known actress. At the same time, her supposed husband becomes stuck in unemployment and idleness.Throughout, morality plays little role in what happens. Carrie is successful, despite living a less than honorable lifestyle. Her compatriot falls completely from grace, in apparent disproportion to his crimes. Such moral ambiguity (though it is still clear Dreiser affirms the contemporary view of the city as an inherently corrupt place) was radical and abrasive at the time "Sister Carrie" was published, and is by far the most notable part of the book.Read over a century later, the tale is not nearly so bracing as it must have originally been. Instead, some of the novels flaws (which would have been mostly overlooked because of its scandalous narrative) are more apparent. Dreiser has an ear for the language and lifestyle of the city, and his words are powerful. But sometimes his description becomes cumbersome and intrusive. Still, a classic American novel.
Magadri on LibraryThing 20 days ago
Definitely one of my favorite books; it was incredibly hard to put down once you get past the initial chapters. You find yourself loving and hating the characters all at the same time. Dreiser does not sugar coat anything in this novel. I feel that this book is one that everyone should read.
fig2 on LibraryThing 20 days ago
At the turn of the century, a country girl leaves home for the big city. At a time when the only choice for women was to marry well, Carrie shows us a different road. While her rabid ambition and vanity indicate her true nature, the society in which she navigates is harsh and unforgiving. Dreiser's portrait of the ugliness of human nature is stunning.
LukeS on LibraryThing 22 days ago
Buddha teaches that the suffering we experience in life comes from desire. "Sister Carrie" expresses and reinforces this truth with such singleness of purpose that it becomes ponderous, a drag. This book holds its place in the American canon because it broke the shocking new ground of realism when dealing with the callous disregard with which some men treat impressionable young women. The book also casts its unblinking eye on our material culture and its concomitant status-seeking.But principally and without question, Dreiser gives us the emptiness of our daily urges, the self-defeating nature of vanity, and pages and pages of glittering emptiness. The long, slow decay of Hurstwood, the man who forces Carrie to join him when he leaves Chicago on the lam, takes up the lion's share of the book's second half and grinds the reader under its ever-burgeoning weight. There is something unrealistic and difficult to accept about Hurstwood's undoing.Dreiser is unblinking and pioneering, but also plodding and didactic. It reveals a great deal about the time it represents and the audience it addresses, but it seems clear to me that there are more pleasant and efficient ways of learning about these things.
technodiabla on LibraryThing 24 days ago
Sister Carrie is a treatise on naturalism-- heavy laden with the philosophy that we are slaves to our individual natures and cannot escape the fates to which they lead us. Although I do not agree with Dreiser's premise, I did find the book extremely thought provoking both from a cultural and personal standpoint. The characters are well-developed, but I found none of them particularly sympathetic and their actions (or lack of decision and actions) frustrating. The overall mood of the story is one of gloom, despair, and utter hopelessness (so don't read it in Winter). However, Dreiser does a masterful job of showing step by tiny step the process of change in people and relationships. His understanding of the female psyche-- particularly the glamour-loving, semi-greedy type-- is exceptionally astute. I'm not sure why he insists on making sentences as complex as humanly possible by dangling participles every which way-- but I eventually got used to his writing style and read the second half of the book much faster the first half. This is a long dense book that has to be savored slowly, but if you like Anna Karenina (Tolstoy), The Winter of our Discontent (Steinbeck), and House of Mirth (Wharton) then you might enjoy Sister Carrie too.
CarlaR on LibraryThing 5 months ago
Carrie is a country girl in the late 1800's who decides to move to Chicago. From the beginning Carrie is unhappy with the realization of how hard she will have to work just to get by, so she decides to let herself become a kept woman, all of the while dreaming of having nice things and pretty clothes. When she tires of one man she ends up taking off with his best friend. We are able to see the decline of the second man, both in stature and mentally, as we see Carrie rise to prominence and fame. At the end the only person to remain unscathed was the person who Carrie left.This book was a bit stiff at times, and the characters weren't developed as fully as they could have been, but it was a pretty ok read.
monilovesmocha on LibraryThing 5 months ago
Wow! My favorite book since I was 14 has been Gone With the Wind, and now, it is Sister Carrie. This book was mesmerizing because of its cleaverly crafted prose, vivid imagery and historical detail about turn of the century Chicago. I wasn't sure how I would like it at first because a large portion of the book is told from a male perspective, but once I started reading it, I could not put it down for 3 days straight. The last line in the book really affected me, and the sense of self-reflection that this book brought about was intense. This was the first book I read by Dreiser and is now the most cherished in my collection. I hope they turn it into a movie someday, because I think Hollywood has overlooked an amazing gem in the "period-piece" genre!
lyzadanger on LibraryThing 5 months ago
Reading this required diligence on my part, attention and the willingness to grasp at new conceptions of the foundations of modern American culture. I have long come to accept the current consumerist bent of the nation as something of a continuum, but in Dreiser's novel you can see its nascence, along with the death kicks of patriarchal solidity as the soft and bourgeois face the maw of rampant capitalism, as wells as the subsuming of feminine identity in a raft of blithering materialism. If such stuff is your proverbial thing, you might have a good time with it.Not that Dreiser's subject matter is shallow. The work is important. It's a good filter to look through to understand where we came from and where we might be going. But it's hard to take in the sense of the title character, who effectively doesn't exist. Perhaps you'll note that it isn't until the last few pages of the novel that Dreiser, via the strange and archetypical academic Ames, describes even a single detail of her appearance. Don't wait for her back story to unfold--it doesn't. She is a selfhood-free waif tacking in the breezes of fatuous, sexless desire, shipwrecked far from her goals of meaningful prosperity. I've heard this novel called one of the first modern works of American fiction. I can see that. I spent a lot of time scrutinizing details of life--relatively plentiful in Dreiser's naturalistic style--noticing that the faces of Chicago and New York City were indeed changing. Sometimes you see gas lights, sometimes incandescent. Horses are starting to seem outmoded, streetcars more efficient. Women are starting to creep into the workforce. Money has become definitive (Dreiser will tell you how much nearly everything in the novel costs, to the penny). What made this hard to read for me was the alternation between story and dialogue (easy enough) and long, introspective passages that caused me to refute the suggestion that naturalism never moralizes. Or perhaps I'm asserting my own expectations of moralization on top of what Dreiser is saying. In either case, it felt tiring. I felt compelled to skim occasionally, something to which I do not normally resort. In the end, I felt like I was checking off a big to-do item: read foundational turn-of-the-century naturalistic novel. Check!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have just finished reading Sister Carrie, and I must say I thoroughly enjoyed it. This is probably, and I am speaking as a someone from Europe, one of the best American novels ever written. The end is outstanding. A must.
Guest More than 1 year ago
In my opinion, Sister Carrie is a book of a young girl who mistakes richness for succsess and happiness. Carrie learned her lesson in the end when she was left all alone. Worst days for mr. hurstwood who killed himself because he was left broke and all the better days were gone. What Mr. hurstwood once had, dissapeared the day he cheated on his wife with Carrie.
Guest More than 1 year ago
These paperback 'Thrift Editions' from Dover publications are a great way to collect classic titles at low prices!
Guest More than 1 year ago
A lot of what is written in this book is unnecessary. Do we really need to know the make of the clothing the peole wear. The only thing left out was the price. This reads more like a catlog and street guide to Chicago than it does a story. Take out half of the descriptions and there would be a much more effective novel.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is very boring and too dramatic. An example of it being too dramatic is when Carrie looks for work in the beginning. She is just so emotional when she is rejected by employers. It got a little better after that, but it was still boring.