Sister Carrie | Study Guide

Theodore Dreiser

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Sister Carrie | Infographic

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Check out this Infographic to learn more about Theodore Dreiser's Sister Carrie. Study visually with character maps, plot summaries, helpful context, and more.

sister-carrie-theodore-dreiserIn the late 19th century a booming U.S. economy was fed by the invention of electricity, mass production, and consumerism. Young country girl Carrie Meeber, heroine of Sister Carrie, joins the throngs who come to the city to find a better life. But Carries better life in Chicago and New York comes with complicated moral choices.An Unflinching Look at RealityOVERVIEWOnce Carrie gets off the train in Chicago, she leaves her childhood of poverty behind.Unaware of her former lovers suicide, Carrie keeps climbing the ladder, looking for happiness.Carrie leaves factory jobs behind in favor of being a mistress.To get the things she wants, Carrie leaves modesty and virginity behind.35Being a housewife is also unsatisfying for Carrie, so she chooses theater life instead.412MoralityLingering straitlaced Victorian ideals constantly conflict with looser ideas about sexuality and frivolity. ThemesThe American DreamThe desire for prosperity has become the modern dream, with money representing freedom.MaterialismPeople love the outward trappings of wealth and are consumed with buying more to prove they have money. he wanted pleasure, she wanted position, and yet she was confused as to what these things might be.Narrator, Chapter 15LOVERSMARRIEDMARRIEDIN-LAWSSISTERSLOVERSMain CharactersJuliaVindictive wife; seeks money, not loveMinnieCarries practical older sister; disapproves of Carries lifestyle HansonMinnies hardworking, penny-pinching,stern husbandDrouetCarries charming, fickle first lover; loses her to Hurstwood HurstwoodWealthy married man; loses everything for love of CarrieCarrieNaive; becomes a materialistic, glamour-seeking woman Copies sold of the novel when it was first published, earning Dreiser $68.80 in royalties 456Words in the final version of the novel ~155,500Sister Carrieby the NumbersWords Dreiser cut from the manuscript after the novel was rejected by a publisher~40,000Born to immigrant parents in Indiana, Dreiser grew up in poverty. After completing one year of college, he worked steadily as a journalist until trying his hand as a novelist with Sister Carrie. The novels realistic, direct explorations of social issues built on Dreisers early struggles.THEODORE DREISER1871–1945AuthorRocking ChairSymbolizes a soothing refuge, with the motion representing endless pursuits leading nowhere NewspaperStands for what has already happened because it is read by “has beens” in the future-oriented world Clothing & MirrorsRepresent the importance of physical appearance and the narcissistic love of adornment SymbolsSources: Chicago Tribune, The Guardian, Penn Libraries, Theodore Dreiser: An American Journey by Richard Lingeman Copyright © 2017 Course Hero, Inc.Theodore Dreiser1900EnglishNovelAuthorYear PublishedOriginal LanguageSister CarrieDrama

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