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Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser

Sister Carrie (1900)

by Theodore Dreiser

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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Theodore Dreiser was an accomplished journalist and it shows in the brisk, detailed style of this, his first novel. It is a novel with a theme: we are doomed to lead empty lives because all of our striving gets us no where. All of the characters are flawed, but some lead more successful lives than others. Carrie and Drouet achieve their dreams, but still feel empty. Hurstwood sinks into poverty, but that is more by chance than any moral failing on his part. You cannot read this book thinking that the good person will win in the end. There is no thing as justice. Hurstwood performs a criminal act, but he gives the money back and still he seems to be punished. Carrie is very lucky, but her good luck doesn't make her happy.
No one can win in Dreiser's world because we are doomed to sit in our rocking chairs, moving back and forth but going no where. Trying to be a better person, like Ames does, is a good thing, but it won't make any difference to the outcome of your life. ( )
  PatsyMurray | Apr 20, 2017 |
Carrie lost my sympathy about halfway through when she rounds on Drouet and claims he never did anything for her. He supported her for several years while she didn't make any attempt to find work during this period!! This feeling turned to active dislike later when she dumps Hurstwood as soon as she starts earning some money.. She struck me as completely self-centered.

I did find that this book kept me engaged more than "An American Tragedy" did but I think that I liked the plot of that book better. ( )
  leslie.98 | Aug 25, 2016 |
Sister Carrie, Dreiser's first novel, tells the story of a young girl from a small town who moves to Chicago and is corrupted by the ills of the big city. ( )
  KatherineGregg | Feb 19, 2016 |
This book is so frustrating, and yet so fascinating. Frustrating because you have to watch Hurstwood make one dumb decision after another and then suffer along with him, and fascinating because of how the city gives Carrie everything she wants, yet still leaves her with a gaping hole in her soul that she can never fill. It's frustrating to watch Hurstwood go from rich man to beggar, especially since Carrie selfishly abandoned him so she could buy more clothes, but satisfying to watch Carrie make it on her own during a time when that was unheard of. Yes, this book is incredibly frustrating, but also sort of un-put-downable. ( )
  AngelClaw | Feb 3, 2016 |
Most excellent book - excellent writing. I read this book for the first time when I was a teenager, again in my thirties, recommended it to my daughter when she was in college and will read it again before I die. ( )
  Judy_Ryfinski | Jan 20, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 42 (next | show all)
I believe the novel Sister Carrie helps to describe the life of young girls in the turn of the century. The confusion of what to do, who to be with, who to trust.. running into problems, this story touches bases with all of these.
added by newfieldreads | editSister Carrie, Josie (Mar 19, 2010)
The novel Sister Carrie was a great book to read if your into sneaky ways and like reading about Drama. The book shows how you shouldnt always base your opinions on what you see because that may lead you in the way of false pretences. Over all I enjoyed reading the book and it also gave me an outlook on how the 1900's really is not that different from the present time we live in. The novel teaches you inner morals to go with what your heart desires Carrie made her life the way she dreamed by following what she knew and working hard for it.
added by newfieldreads | editSister Carrie, Samantha (Mar 19, 2010)

» Add other authors (44 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Dreiser, Theodoreprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Auchincloss, LouisIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Baldini, GabrieleTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Delbanco, AndrewIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dielemans, WimTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Doctorow, E. L.Introductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Domeraski, ReginaContributorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Stahl, Ben F.Illustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Thorp, WillardAfterwordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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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.
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Disambiguation notice
Sister Carrie has been published in two forms: all editions between 1900 and 1981 were based on a version somewhat abridged by Dreiser and his editors. In 1981, the Pennsylvania edition based on the original manuscript from the NYPL was published.

Work #36059 is for the standard version. Do not combine it with the unexpurgated editions (Penguin Unexpurgated, Pennsylvania Edition, or NYPL Collectors Edition) or with the Norton Critical Edition (also contains the unexpurgated material as well as several background and critical writings).
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0451527607, Mass Market Paperback)

Sister Carrie, Theodore Dreiser's revolutionary first novel, was published in 1900--sort of. The story of Carrie Meeber, an 18-year-old country girl who moves to Chicago and becomes a kept woman, was strong stuff at the turn of the century, and what Dreiser's wary publisher released was a highly expurgated version. Times change, and we now have a restored "author's cut" of Sister Carrie that shows how truly ahead of his time Dreiser was. First and foremost, he has written an astute, nonmoralizing account of a woman and her limited options in late-19th-century America. That's impressive in and of itself, but Dreiser doesn't stop there. Digging deeply into the psychological underpinnings of his characters, he gives us people who are often strangers to themselves, drifting numbly until fate pushes them on a path they can later neither defend nor even remember choosing.

Dreiser's story unfolds in the measured cadences of an earlier era. This sometimes works brilliantly as we follow the choices, small and large, that lead some characters to doom and others to glory. On the other hand, the middle chapters--of which there are many--do drag somewhat, even when one appreciates Dreiser's intentions. If you can make it through the sagging midsection, however, you'll be rewarded by Sister Carrie's last 150 pages, which depict the harrowing downward spiral of one of the book's central characters. Here Dreiser portrays with brutal power how the wrong decision--or lack of decision--can lay waste to a life. --Rebecca Gleason

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:03:34 -0400)

(see all 8 descriptions)

From the day of its troubled publication in 1900 to its inclusion in Modern Library's list of Top 100 Novels of the 20th Century, "Sister Carrie" has been a source of controversy and debate. Regarded as the "first masterpiece of the American naturalist movement," this 100th Anniversary Edition of the classic includes material by the author and a new introduction by the definitive Dreiser biographer.… (more)

» see all 9 descriptions

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Tantor Media

2 editions of this book were published by Tantor Media.

Editions: 1400102707, 1400109051

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