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Course Hero. "Sister Carrie Study Guide." Course Hero. 7 Feb. 2017. Web. 12 Dec. 2018. <>.

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Course Hero. (2017, February 7). Sister Carrie Study Guide. In Course Hero. Retrieved December 12, 2018, from

In text

(Course Hero, 2017)



Course Hero. "Sister Carrie Study Guide." February 7, 2017. Accessed December 12, 2018.


Course Hero, "Sister Carrie Study Guide," February 7, 2017, accessed December 12, 2018,

Sister Carrie | Chapter Summaries

See Chapter Summaries Chart

Timeline of Events

  • August 1889

    18-year-old Carrie Meeber moves to her sister's in Chicago, meeting Charles Drouet on the train.

    Chapter 1
  • The next day

    Carrie finds work in a shoe factory where she earns $4.50 per week, $4 of which goes to her sister.

    Chapter 3
  • Early winter 1889

    Carrie becomes very ill, loses her job, and faces the prospect of moving back home.

    Chapter 6
  • The same week

    Having run into Drouet, Carrie accepts his offer of help and moves to a boarding house.

    Chapter 7
  • Several months later

    Now living with Drouet, Carrie meets his wealthy friend George Hurstwood and finds him desirable.

    Chapter 11
  • A few weeks later

    Having declared his love for Carrie, the married Hurstwood acts as if they could go away together.

    Chapter 15
  • Around the same time

    Drouet arranges for Carrie to have a role in an amateur play, and she steals the show.

    Chapter 19
  • Within days

    Drouet and Julia learn of the growing affair between Carrie and Hurstwood and separate from them.

    Chapter 22
  • A week later

    Hurstwood steals $10,000 from the saloon.

    Chapter 27
  • Hours later

    Hurstwood takes Carrie to Montreal under false pretenses, where he arranges their illegal marriage.

    Chapter 28
  • The next day

    Hurstwood and Carrie arrive in New York City to begin their new life together.

    Chapter 30
  • Within weeks

    Hurstwood rents and furnishes an apartment and buys a share in a New York saloon.

    Chapter 30
  • Two years later

    Hurstwood makes a decent living, but he and Carrie are dissatisfied with their circumstances.

    Chapter 31
  • About a year later

    Hurstwood loses the saloon and begins a slow slide into poverty.

    Chapter 33
  • About three months later

    Hurstwood and Carrie fight, and he reveals their marriage is illegal.

    Chapter 36
  • Some months later

    Carrie gets her first theater job in a chorus line and becomes the breadwinner.

    Chapter 38
  • About a year later

    Hurstwood tries working as a scab during the trolley strike but only lasts two days.

    Chapter 41
  • Soon after

    Carrie moves in with Lola Osborne, leaving Hurstwood behind forever.

    Chapter 42
  • Within months

    Carrie becomes a true star, earning $150 a week.

    Chapter 43
  • A few years later

    The totally destitute Hurstwood commits suicide in a Bowery flophouse.

    Chapter 47

Chapter Summaries Chart

Chapter Summary
Chapter 1 Young Caroline Meeber, called Sister Carrie by her family, is aboard a train as the novel opens. Eighteen years of age a... Read More
Chapters 2–3 In giving a detailed description of the Hansons' apartment, Dreiser reveals a great deal about the character of the coup... Read More
Chapter 4 When Carrie shares the news of her job, Hanson and Minnie respond to her proud announcement with their usual practicalit... Read More
Chapter 5 Carrie's mind has turned to Drouet at times, for example when she wishes for fun or contrasts the factory boys to him. S... Read More
Chapters 6–8 The evening of her first day at work Carrie does not hide her disappointment from Hanson and Minnie. When asked, she say... Read More
Chapter 9 This chapter introduces readers to Hurstwood's home life. Through both description and dialogue, Dreiser reveals the sum... Read More
Chapters 10–11 Dreiser opens Chapter 10 with philosophical musings. He warns readers that Carrie is something of a victim of an "arbitr... Read More
Chapters 12–15 Chapter 12 opens back at the Hurstwood home on the day after Hurstwood's trip to the theater with Carrie and Drouet. It ... Read More
Chapters 16–19 Drouet decides his career will benefit from aligning himself more closely with the Elks Lodge he belongs to, so when he ... Read More
Chapters 20–21 Chapter 20 finds both Hurstwood and Drouet out of sorts on the morning after the play. Hurstwood is caught up in thinkin... Read More
Chapters 22–25 The jealousy running through Hurstwood and Drouet is about to infect another person—Julia. Dreiser opens Chapter 22 with... Read More
Chapter 26 As soon as Drouet leaves, Carrie fixates on her financial situation. Finding seven dollars and change in her wallet, she... Read More
Chapter 27 When Hurstwood reads Carrie's letter he responds with a surprising uptick in his mood. He decides, "She wouldn't write a... Read More
Chapters 28–29 Hurstwood's serious demeanor as he and Carrie travel in the cab contributes to her ability to believe the situation he h... Read More
Chapters 30–31 Chapter 30 opens with a bleak pronouncement. In the huge metropolis of New York City, "Hurstwood was nothing." He is "cu... Read More
Chapters 32–36 After their stroll on Broadway Mrs. Vance and Carrie go to a matinee play. Carrie is reminded of how much she loved her ... Read More
Chapters 37–39 Titled "The Spirit Awakens: New Search for the Gate," Chapter 37 opens with Hurstwood's revelation to Carrie that the co... Read More
Chapters 40–41 The morning after Carrie stays out late with Lola and the two men without letting Hurstwood know, all pretenses between ... Read More
Chapters 42–44 Hurstwood never describes his experience in Brooklyn to Carrie, and so she decides he simply "did not want to work." She... Read More
Chapters 45–47 Hurstwood continues to downgrade his existence, occupying cheaper and cheaper rooms as he tries to make it on $70—all th... Read More
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