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Young Carrie Meeber, a small town girl, is off to Chicago to seek her fortune. She arrives at her sister's home determined to make a living right away. She begins toiling away in the harsh and dismal world of a shoe factory. The horrid working conditions become too much for Carrie, but not having the means with which to seek a better situation, she is unsure of what to do. As a working woman, Carrie's options are truly limited. By chance, an encounter with a possible suitor offers the hope of a new direction, although it is one that Carrie would never have considered before—living with the young man out of wedlock. The small measure of comfort and security that the suitor can give Carrie convinces the desperate young woman to leave home and move in with him. Life brings big changes for Carrie from that point on, and she begins the life of a societal outsider, a fallen woman. Once her reputation is forever ruined, Carrie goes on to lead a reckless life, becoming an actress and embarking on a series of love affairs, always in search of the greener grass on the other side of the fence. This classic human drama was a controversial book in its day for its often brutal honesty about the facts of material hardship and temptation in American life.
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Theodore Dreiser (1871-1945) was born to conservative parents in Indiana. He left college early to become a newspaperman. Dreiser began writing novels soon afterwards, intending to bring about awareness of what he saw as major problems with American society. His first novel, Sister Carrie, was not well-received when it appeared in 1900. Its clear-eyed representation of the controversial choices that a working-class woman makes out of material desperation did not sit well with the general public. Dreiser continued undaunted, writing novels and stories that were focused on a central theme of the reckless American pursuit of fame and fortune. Dreiser was an outspoken social critic, espousing politically liberal views and always seeking to be a voice against unfairness that he saw around him. In addition to his fictional writings, he published non-fiction works on Socialism, as always unafraid of taking the less traveled road politically and artistically.Back to top
Opening Lines (Experimental)
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, ...Back to top
Ratings for 'Sister Carrie' by Dreiser, Theodore