Sister Carrie | Study Guide

Theodore Dreiser

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Sister Carrie | Characters

Character Description
Carrie Carrie is a beautiful young woman from rural Wisconsin who comes to the big city of Chicago, seeking a life of fortune and fame, which she eventually procures, but in a somewhat shocking fashion and without finding personal contentment. Read More
Drouet Drouet is a handsome, upwardly mobile salesman who enjoys the company of women and has a good-natured, yet shallow, approach to life. He is happy to win Carrie's heart, if only for a brief time. Read More
Hurstwood Hurstwood is the highly regarded, successful manager of a swanky saloon establishment in Chicago until he falls under Carrie's spell and becomes unhappy with his boring home life; his life enters a downward spiral from the moment he meets Carrie. Read More
Julia Julia is Hurstwood's contented wife as the novel opens, but she quickly turns into a vengeful pursuer of everything he owns as she bitterly divorces him for his infidelity. Read More
Minnie Minnie is Carrie's married older sister who is content to live a straitlaced and rather poor life, avoiding the things in the big city Carrie finds so exciting. Read More
Hanson Hanson is Minnie's hardworking husband who saves every penny he can for the future and lives by a strict and somber moral code. Read More
Alsbery & Co. Manager Hurstwood turns off a manager of a whiskey brokerage in New York as a potential employer for him because he thinks Hurstwood is too old and has a prideful attitude.
Mr. Ames Mr. Ames is the intelligent, handsome young cousin of Carrie's New York neighbors and friends, the Vances; he comes to represent the ideal unreachable man for young Carrie.
Mr. Bamberger Mr. Bamberger tries to have a role in the play put on by the Elks in Chicago, in which Carrie has a role, but he does not make the cut.
Barney Barney is the theater manager at the Grand Opera House in Chicago who takes the time to talk to Carrie when she looks for a theater job, but it turns out he is only interested in her looks.
Dr. Beale Dr. Beale runs into Julia and mentions he saw Mr. Hurstwood driving with a woman he supposed was Julia, which leads Julia to be suspicious of her husband.
Mrs. Bermudez Mrs. Bermudez is the first dramatic agent Carrie tries to get in with in New York.
Box office clerk The box office clerk at the Madison Square Theater advises Carrie to look in the "Clipper" paper to find dramatic agents.
Broadway Central manager The manager of the Broadway Central Hotel gives Hurstwood work and a place to stay when he is down to his last 20 cents.
Broadway comedian This star of the second New York show Carrie is in likes an ad lib line she uses during one performance and allows her to make it part of the script.
Mr. Brown Mr. Brown is the boss of the shoe factory where Carrie works in Chicago.
The Captain The Captain helps homeless men in New York, including Hurstwood, by lining them up and asking passersby to give 12 cents to get a man a bed at a cheap lodging house; once he has enough money, he marches the men there.
Cargill Cargill is one of Hurstwood's wealthy Chicago friends whom Hurstwood is embarrassed to run into once he is down and out in New York.
Caryoe Owner of the company where Drouet works as a salesman.
Casino ballet-master The ballet-master at the Casino is the first theatrical professional Carrie works with in New York.
Casino cashier Carrie notices the deference the casino cashier gives her when paying her as she begins to rise as a star, as opposed to the cashier's poor treatment of chorus girls.
Casino comedian This star of the third comedy Carrie has a role in becomes angry because she begins to steal the attention away from him whenever they are on stage together.
Casino manager The manager of Carrie's first play in New York keeps rewarding her for her good looks by moving her up in the chorus line, putting her on the road to success.
Chambermaid Drouet flirts with the chambermaid who works at the boarding house where he and Carrie live, and, in turn, she is the one who tells him how often Hurstwood visits when Drouet is away.
Chicago buyer When Hurstwood runs into one of his Chicago friends, a buyer, he is relieved to realize the man will never actually visit the Warren Street saloon Hurstwood owns a share in and manages in New York.
Clerk at Palmer House Hurstwood finds out from the clerk at the Palmer House, where he stays after his wife locks him out, that Drouet has also taken lodging there; this gives him courage to try to see Carrie again.
Conductor The conductor passes through the train car leaving Chicago after Carrie learns of Hurstwood's deception.
Department store manager Described as a "sharp, quick-mannered Jew," this man interviews and quickly dismisses Carrie on the first day of her job search in Chicago because she has no experience. Dreiser's description of the manager reflects casually accepted prejudices of the time.
Detective A detective finds Hurstwood almost immediately in Montreal, and his threats convince Hurstwood to return most of the money he has stolen.
Mr. Drake As Carrie is forced to seek work in New York to help pay the bills, unemployed Hurstwood claims his Chicago friend, Mr. Drake, is going to open a New York hotel and employ him as the bar manager.
Factory boy A crude factory worker who pokes Carrie in the ribs.
Factory boy; young machine hand One of the factory workers who calls Carrie "Maggie" and offers to walk her home, but she refuses.
Factory boy; youth with tan-colored hair When young Carrie works in the Chicago shoe factory, she is disgusted by the advances of the crude male factory workers, including the factory boy with tan-colored hair.
Fitzgerald One of the owners of the swanky Chicago bar that Hurstwood manages, Fitzgerald and Moy; they kindly allow him to keep some of the money he steals from them.
Foreman of Speigelheim & Co. The foreman of a cap maker in Chicago is the first one to offer Carrie a job, at the low sum of three and a half dollars a week. Carrie chooses the job at the shoe house over this one.
George Jr. George Jr. is Hurstwood's spoiled son; he is 19 years old when Hurstwood leaves the family.
German proprietor When Hurstwood is looking for a small pub in New York to invest in after losing the Warren Street saloon, he is enraged by the way a German proprietor dismisses him.
Grey-haired gentleman As nervous and shy young Carrie first seeks work in Chicago, a kind elderly man at a shoe company gives her courage to keep trying.
Grand Street proprietor Hurstwood likes a saloon near Grand Street when he is looking to invest in one in New York after losing the Warren Street saloon, but he is shocked when the proprietor names the price of $3,000.
Mr. Hale Mr. Hale and his wife live in the same building as Drouet and Carrie, and he manages the Standard Theater in Chicago.
Mrs. Hale Mrs. Hale becomes Carrie's friend when Carrie lives with Drouet; she is superficial and likes to gossip.
Harry Harry is the errand boy for the Fitzgerald and Moy saloon who delivers messages between Hurstwood and his wife once they are separated.
Mrs. Hoagland One of the actresses in the Elks amateur play in Chicago.
Hoboken scab One of Hurstwood's fellow scabs during the trolley strike is a young man from Hoboken who advises him how to get a free place to stay and meal tickets.
Irish youth (poker player) Hurstwood tries to make money by gambling in New York; after some initial poker wins, he loses badly to a cocky, young Irish player.
Jessica Jessica is Hurstwood's pretty but spoiled daughter who only cares about social status and money.
Jessica's husband In a brief scene near the end of the novel, readers learn that Jessica's husband is a good match for her—rich and handsome but without depth.
Mr. Kenny In Montreal, Hurstwood encounters Mr. Kenny, the first of the rich Chicago crowd he has left behind forever.
Machine girls At Carrie's first job in the shoe factory, she comes to view her fellow machine girls as beneath her.
McGarren A friend of Hurstwood, newspaperman Mr. McGarren gives the Elks play Carrie is in publicity, helping to drive the ticket sales.
McGregor, James and Hay Julia hires McGregor, James and Hay as her attorneys when she decides to divorce Hurstwood.
Mr. McManus As naive Carrie first seeks work in Chicago, a kind wholesale manager named Mr. McManus suggests she might have luck getting a position as a department store clerk.
Mr. Millice Mr. Millice is the forceful young director of the Elks play Carrie is in.
Mrs. Morgan Mrs. Morgan acts with Carrie in the Elks play and is jealous of her.
Sagar Morrison Sagar Morrison is the wealthy Chicago friend Hurstwood goes to the Elks play with and then remembers in one of the hallucinations he begins to experience near the end of his life.
Moy One of the owners of the swanky Chicago bar that Hurstwood manages, Fitzgerald and Moy; they kindly allow him to keep some of the money he steals from them.
Oeslogge Oeslogge is the grocer in New York from whom Hurstwood receives credit and then struggles to pay.
Olsen Olsen is the chief porter at the Broadway Central Hotel who becomes Hurstwood's boss and sends him to Bellevue when he becomes sick.
Orrin Orrin and his friend are typical young suitors for chorus girls, but when Carrie goes out with them and Lola Osborne, she is not interested.
Lola Osborne Lola Osborne is the kind, bubbly chorus girl who befriends Carrie, gives her advice, and becomes her roommate and the beneficiary of Carrie's growing wealth and fame.
Patton The professional actor who replaces Bamberger in the Elks amateur play in Chicago, where Carrie performs for the first time.
Mr. Quincel Mr. Quincel is in charge of the Elks play and is made to look good by Hurstwood's behind-the-scenes efforts to have it be well attended.
Shaughnessy Shaughnessy is the unfriendly owner of the Warren Street saloon in New York that Hurstwood buys into and manages.
Mr. Taintor Mr. Taintor is the saloon patron and friend of Hurstwood's with whom Hurstwood gets drunk on the night he steals the money from Fitzgerald and Moy.
Mr. Bart Taylor Mr. Taylor runs into Julia at the horse races and mentions he is sorry she didn't make it to the Elks play, which leads to Julia figuring out Mr. Hurstwood is having an affair.
Mr. Vance Mr. Vance is the friendly and wealthy neighbor of Hurstwood and Carrie whose wife becomes close friends with Carrie.
Mrs. Vance Mrs. Vance is Carrie's neighbor and good friend in New York who piques Carrie's interest in society and fine things.
Percy Weil A dishonest dramatic agent Carrie visits notices her inexperience and tries to get her to give him $50 to secure her a role.
Jules Wallace Jules Wallace is a spiritualist (with a lot of money) who walks into the bar Hurstwood manages in Chicago the first time Drouet and Hurstwood chat in the novel, and Drouet mentions he met Carrie.
Mr. Withers As Carrie achieves success on stage, Mr. Withers welcomes her as a celebrity resident of his property, the opulent Wellington Hotel.
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