Like the American economy, American art and literature flourished during the Gilded Age.
Plot summary[ edit ] Dissatisfied with life in her rural Wisconsin home, year-old Caroline "Sister Carrie" Meeber takes the train to Chicagowhere her older sister Minnie, and Minnie's husband, Sven Hanson, have agreed to take her in.
On the train, Carrie meets Charles Drouet, a traveling salesman, who is attracted to her because of her simple beauty and unspoiled manner. They exchange contact information, but upon discovering the "steady round of toil" and somber atmosphere at her sister's flat, she writes to Drouet and discourages him from calling on her there.
Carrie soon embarks on a quest for work to pay rent to her sister and her husband, and takes a job running a machine in a shoe factory.
Before long, however, she is shocked by the coarse manners of both the male and female factory workers, and the physical demands of the job, as well as the squalid factory conditions, begin to take their toll.
Home of the Modern Library, renowned publisher of classics, chronicles, essential writings, and translations. Includes the Bantam Classics line of titles for high school and college students, and the authorized Royal Shakespeare Company editions. Test your knowledge of Sister Carrie with our quizzes and study questions, or go further with essays on the context and background and links to the best resources around the web. This lesson discusses Theodore Dreiser's classic American naturalist novel, Sister Carrie, as well as the concept of conspicuous consumption.
She also senses Minnie and Sven's disapproval of her interest in Chicago's recreational opportunities, particularly the theater. One day, after an illness that costs her her job, she encounters Drouet on a downtown street.
Once again taken by her beauty, and moved by her poverty, he encourages her to dine with him, where, over sirloin and asparagus, he persuades her to leave her sister and move in with him.
To press his case, he slips Carrie two ten dollar bills, opening a vista of material possibilities to her. The next day, he rebuffs her feeble attempts to return the money, taking her shopping at a Chicago department store and securing a jacket she covets and some shoes.
That night, she writes a good-bye note to Minnie and moves in with Drouet. Drouet installs her in a much larger apartment, and their relationship intensifies as Minnie dreams about her sister's fall from innocence.
She acquires a sophisticated wardrobe and, through his offhand comments about attractive women, sheds her provincial mannerisms, even as she struggles with the moral implications of being a kept woman.
By the time Drouet introduces Carrie to George Hurstwood, the manager of Fitzgerald and Moy's — a respectable bar that Drouet describes as a "way-up, swell place" — her material appearance has improved considerably.
Hurstwood, unhappy with and distant from his social-climbing wife and children, instantly becomes infatuated with Carrie's youth and beauty, and before long they start an affair, communicating and meeting secretly in the expanding, anonymous city. One night, Drouet casually agrees to find an actress to play a key role in an amateur theatrical presentation of Augustin Daly 's melodrama Under the Gaslight for his local chapter of the Elks.
Upon returning home to Carrie, he encourages her to take the part of the heroine. Unknown to Drouet, Carrie long has harbored theatrical ambitions and has a natural aptitude for imitation and expressing pathos.
The night of the production — which Hurstwood attends at Drouet's invitation — both men are moved to even greater displays of affection by Carrie's stunning performance.
The next day, the affair is uncovered: Drouet discovers he has been cuckolded, Carrie learns that Hurstwood is married, and Hurstwood's wife Julia learns from acquaintances that Hurstwood has been out driving with another woman and deliberately excluded her from the Elks theatre night.
After a night of drinking, and despairing at his wife's financial demands and Carrie's rejection, Hurstwood stumbles upon a large amount of cash in the unlocked safe in Fitzgerald and Moy's offices.
In a moment of poor judgment, he succumbs to the temptation to embezzle a large sum of money. Inventing a false pretext of Drouet's sudden illness, he lures Carrie onto a train and escapes with her to Canada.
Once they arrive in Montreal, Hurstwood's guilty conscience — and a private eye — induce him to return most of the stolen funds, but he realizes that he cannot return to Chicago.
Hurstwood mollifies Carrie by agreeing to marry her, and the couple move to New York City. Hurstwood buys a minority interest in a saloon and, at first, is able to provide Carrie with a satisfactory — if not lavish — standard of living. The couple grow distant, however, as Hurstwood abandons any pretense of fine manners toward Carrie, and she realizes that Hurstwood no longer is the suave, powerful manager of his Chicago days.
Carrie's dissatisfaction only increases when she meets Robert Ames, a bright young scholar from Indiana and her neighbor's cousin, who introduces her to the idea that great art, rather than showy materialism, is worthy of admiration.
After only a few years, the saloon's landlord sells the property and Hurstwood's business partner expresses his intent to terminate the partnership.Carrie is met at the station by her sister Minnie Hanson. The two girls travel to the flat where Minnie lives with her husband Sven and their baby.
The couple plan . There Dreiser began work on his first novel Sister Carrie, published in Unknown to Maude, Henry sold a half-interest in the house to Dreiser to finance a move to New York without her.
. Ready Reference Center: Web and Library Resources by Topic; Ready Reference Center: Research; Ready Reference Center: Search Engines & Web Resources. Sister Carrie () is a novel by Theodore Dreiser about a young country girl who moves to the big city where she starts realizing her own American Dream, first as a mistress to men that she perceives as superior, and later becoming a famous actress.
It has been called the .
Sister Carrie sold poorly but was redeemed by writers like Frank Norris and William Dean Howells who saw the novel as a breakthrough in American realism. Charges of obscenity were brought against the novel, soon making Dreiser a cause celebre for many young writers.
Sister Carrie () is a novel by Theodore Dreiser about a young country girl who moves to the big city where she starts realizing her own American Dream, first as a mistress to men that she perceives as superior, and later becoming a famous actress.
It has been called the .