Visions Of America And Sister Carrie English Literature Essay

To this twenty-four hours, Sister Carrie remains remembered as one of the most controversial novels of its clip. The amazingly realistic characters and combative state of affairss created by Theodore Dreiser, illustrate the dual criterions within the turning American society at the bend of 20th century.

In her essay Historical and Cultural Context for Sister Carrie, the writer Clare Virginia Eby states that for many readers, the compelling feeling left by Theodore Dreiser ‘s Sister Carrie ( 1900 ) “ is that of a constant gesture directed toward unsure ends ” . ( Eby, 2001, web ) The writer ‘s comment depicts exactly the general inclination of an ever-transforming society when giving another of import bend. Sister Carrie reflects the existent America, suggesting at facets like societal and personal life, word pictures of the metropoliss, economic system and the monolithic industrialisation.

Dreiser ‘s ungratified indecisiveness typical for his characters reflects profound transmutations in American life in the late 19th century. “ His novel makes the volatility of the period concrete, vivid, and unforgettable by registering its consequence on single lives ” ( Eby, 2001, web ) . There are of import alterations registered in the novel among which the shifting of the economic system from an agricultural to an industrial base, the abrasion of traditional values following the Darwinian revolution, and the altering dealingss of work forces and adult females. Reading Sister Carrie while stressing the cultural and historical contexts such as these can take to “ a daze of acknowledgment ” , for the fresh appreciation the birth of much that we consider familiar, even ineluctable, facets of modern life.

As Dreiser points out, the civilization that Sister Carrie reflects is grounded in economic conditions. He sets the secret plan in gesture by following the migration of Sister Carrie, a immature guiltless adult female whose fond regard to her household is weak, from her little town place of Wisconsin to the metropolis of Chicago. The confirmed purpose of this journey, “ if non the psychological drift behind it ” ( Eby, 2001, web ) , is Carrie ‘s demand to happen work. The twelvemonth Dreiser attributes to Carrie ‘s migration is 1889, and her hunt for labour in the closest major metropolis reflects a national inclination, as glimpsed in the rubrics of contemporary texts, such as the U.S. Bureau of Labor ‘s Working Women in Large Cities ( 1888 ) and the Massachusetts Bureau of Labor ‘s The Working Girls of Boston ( 1889 ) . In 1890, one twelvemonth after Dreiser imagines Carrie ‘s reaching in Chicago, the national labour force comprised adult females aged between 15 and 24 organizing the largest proportion of this group ( qtd in Eby, 2001, web )

Dreiser ab initio focuses on adult females ‘s work, but he expands to include work forces ‘s labour every bit good, supplying a pertinent index of the altering economic system. From the initiation of the U.S. through the early 19th century, the economic system had been chiefly agricultural, holding as the centre of production the single family. The goods that single households consumed, were merely what they could themselves bring forth. In the early economic system the labour of adult females was cardinal, a reversal of the state of affairs or of the theoretical account of stay-at-home married woman and female parent associated with the Victorian epoch through much of the 20th century. The development from an agricultural economic system centered in the household to an industrial order characterized by managerial capitalist economy was conditioned by the development of mills throughout the 19th century. Factories had specific demands of centralised labour, big groups of unrelated people go forthing the place and working under one roof and for one intent. With this alteration, work necessarily expanded outside the place, and later, the significance of the household and the place besides changed. Dreiser grounds Sister Carrie in this factory-based capitalist economic system, stressing its effects on persons and households. ( Eby, 2001, web )

The period from the Civil War to the terminal of the 19th century was marked by extended economic alteration. This transmutation implied non merely the mill system and a labour force centralized in metropoliss, but besides a huge substructure of engineering every bit good as communications and fiscal systems.

Given that the capitalist economic system was based on quickly traveling goods from manufacturer to consumers, velocity became the regulation of the twenty-four hours. As a consequence human life was likewise set to the clock: as the railwaies needed exactly synchronised agendas to run efficaciously, clip zones were instituted in 1883 ; meanwhile, “ scientific direction, ” the inspiration of Frederick W. Taylor, devised time-motion surveies to modulate every minute of a worker ‘s twenty-four hours. ( Eby, 2001, web )

While Sister Carrie registers the ardent gait set by the market place, one of the most of import transmutations the novel illustrates is the transmutation of the economic system from being fueled by production to being driven by ingestion. This displacement is seeable from the early chapters, when Carrie rejects the greed and difficult work favored by her sister and brother in jurisprudence, Sven and Minnie Hanson, those vertical but dull advocates of the Protestant work ethic. Representative of a new coevals of Americans, Carrie is non one to “ subject to a grave unit of ammunition of industry ” ( 32 ) while proroguing fulfilment. Properly, Carrie ‘s first lover is a “ drummer ” or going salesman who goes on the route to market his company ‘s ware. The friendly Charlie Drouet produces nil concrete to sell, but him and others 1000s like him maintain goods traveling to their concluding finish, the consumers. Prospective purchasers like Carrie with easy fictile desires are besides indispensable: without desire, the consumer economic system arrests. ( Eby, 2001, web )

Further more, as Eby comments, in his best-selling Progress and Poverty ( 1877-79 ) , Henry George provides a taxonomy of desires that absolutely describes what we observe in Sister Carrie. Describing “ adult male ” as “ the lone animate being whose desires increase as they are fed ; the lone animate being that is ne’er satisfied, ” George explains that “ the demand for measure one time satisfied, he seeks quality. The really desires that he has in common with the animal become extended, refined, exalted. It is non simply hungriness, but gustatory sensation, that seeks satisfaction in nutrient ; in apparels he seeks non simply comfort, but adornment ; the rude shelter becomes a house. ” And so the consumer “ passes into higher signifiers of desire, ” universe without terminal ( 134-5 ) . Exemplifying what George calls “ an infinite patterned advance ” of wants ( 135 ) , Carrie Meeber remains a perceptibly modern figure. ( Eby, 2001 web )

The psychological science of the consumer in its purest signifier, is reflected when Carrie wanders through the Chicago section shops, which Dreiser calls “ huge retail combinations [ . . . ] that form an interesting chapter in the commercial history of our state ” ( 22 ) . Sister Carrie evokes the history which involves alterations in the selling system during the 2nd half of the nineteenth when ways of selling merchandises were developed which are still common. In the 1850s and 60s, jobbers began marketing standardised consumer products-a assortment of trade goods from underwear to coats, from drapes to furniture. The modern mass retail merchant, such as the section shop ( chiefly functioning urban populations ) and mail order houses ( conveying merchandises to rural communities ) , developed in the 1870s and ’80s. One of the shops that Carrie visits, Chicago ‘s The Fair, opened in 1879. Mass retailing had wide-ranging effects, which Dreiser translates unforgettably into human footings. Customers benefited from lower monetary values and expanded picks, but these picks were intended to imbue-as illustrated by Carrie in the Chicago section store-a new and oddly adumbrate relationship between buyer and consumer goods. As she examines the attractive goods available for sale, Carrie “ could non assist experiencing the claim of each bangle and valuable upon her personally [ . . . . ] The delicacy slippers and stockings, the finely frilly skirts and petticoats. [ . . . ] all touched her with single desire ” ( 22 ) . ( Eby, 2001, web )

It is difficult to make an image of what must hold been a important psychological transmutation at the beginning of the XX century, as people replaced “ garments made at place from harsh homespun fabric, in favour of choosing ready-made vesture cut to standard sizes and available in infinitely spread outing manners ” ( Eby, web ) . But the enticement that vesture and other personal effects has for Dreiser ‘s characters — what he calls “ the voice of the alleged inanimate! ” ( 98 ) — allows us to glimpse that memorable alteration.

Unrestrained ingestion thrives particularly in metropoliss. Dreiser ‘s metropolitan scenes in Sister Carrie — the booming metropolis of Chicago and the established city of New York — are ideal scenes for what societal scientist and cultural critic Thorstein Veblen defined in 1899 as “ conspicuous ingestion. ” ( qtd in Eby, web ) . Veblen ‘s words are important, for the modern disbursement forms that imply behaviors that have less to make with sating desire than with advertisement position. Such ingestion demands to be conspicuously on show, and Carrie ‘s sauntering along Broadway with Mrs. Vance, “ traveling intentionally to see and be seen ” ( 323 ) , exactly fits the measure. ( Eby, 2001, web )

The modern metropolis, so, may be Dreiser ‘s greatest character in Sister Carrie. “ The metropolis has its craft trickeries, ” ( 4 ) the storyteller comments in the gap chapter, and it seems that Chicago, instead than any adult male, seduces the heroine. Chicago, described by Dreiser as “ a elephantine magnet pulling to itself from all quarters the aspirant and the hopeless ” ( 16 ) , may hold so enticed Carrie because of its unprecedented growing: from a population of 300,000 at the clip of the fire in 1871 to over one million by 1890. A observer in that twelvemonth captures the enticement of the urban experience in linguistic communication strikingly expecting Dreiser ‘s: “ the city is to tonss of people like a lighted taper to the moth. It attracts them in droves that come twelvemonth after twelvemonth with the obscure thought that they can acquire along here if anyplace ” ( qtd in Eby ) ; Dreiser uses the moth image to qualify the barroom that Hurstwood manages: “ Here come the moths in eternal emanation to enjoy in the visible radiation of the fire ” ( 46 ) . But the city that attracts one individual could besides except others, going what Dreiser footings a “ walled metropolis ” ( 239 ) . Thus New York, which “ interested Carrie extremely ” ( 229 ) , has a negative consequence on George Hurstwood. As the storyteller says, “ Whatever a adult male like Hurstwood could be in Chicago, it is really apparent that he would be but an invisible bead in an ocean like New York ” ( 214 ) .

Factory production, mass distribution, and conspicuous ingestion in the modern metropolis wholly contributed to make unprecedented lucks in the late 19th century.

Dreiser was introduced in the American mystique of self-promotion by agencies of fiscal success. Before composing his first novel, he published interviews with Andrew Carnegie and other barons for Orison S. Marden ‘s Success, a magazine that praised the political orientation of lifting mobility. As such, he joined the popular authors like Russell Conwell, who proclaimed that “ Estates of Diamonds ” could be mined in anyone ‘s backyard. ( Eby, web ) . It became obvious to Dreiser that the economic system that produced wealth for some besides caused poorness for others. The last decennaries of the 19th century the economic system was characterized by insecure economic system, boom-bust rhythms being specific for the period. Two of the most terrible fiscal crises in the U.S. occurred during Dreiser ‘s early old ages, one beginning in 1873 with the failure of Jay Cooke ( who was financing the building of the Northern Pacific Railroad ) and the 2nd starting in 1893 ( Eby ) . While some robber barons maintained huge lucks during these depressions, about 40 per centum of industrial workers remained below the $ 500 per twelvemonth poorness line in the late eightiess ( Trachtenberg 90 ) . In reaction, labourers struggled to form and protect themselves by organizing brotherhoods such as the Knights of Labor, the American Federation of Labor ( AFL ) , and subsequently the more extremist Industrial Workers of the World. Between 1881 and 1905, over 37,000 work stoppages occurred throughout the state ( Trachtenberg 86 ) . One of the most dramatic occurred in Chicago in 1886, the alleged Haymarket slaughter, ensuing in seven deceases and many wounded after bomb onslaught at a work stoppage assemblage. ( Eby, 2001, web )

Labor brotherhoods made great advancement in America during Dreiser ‘s young person. But they had a long manner to travel before a difference such as the one which led to the Brooklyn streetcar work stoppage of 1895 affecting Hurstwood. would of all time be settled in favour of labor. It seems obvious though that Dreiser sympathizes with the workers. Difficult to detect in chapter 40 one called “ The Strike ” is Dreiser ‘s accent with the dual significance of the battle seen non as a Marxian category battle but besides as a Darwinian conflict in which merely the tantrum will last. In fact, the full novel shows Carrie surviving because she is adaptable and Hurstwood neglecting one time he leaves his familiar environment, because he is unfit to larn anything new. ( Gale, 1968: 19 ) But as George Hurstwood realizes when he scabs during the Brooklyn tram work stoppage, “ He had read of these things but the world seemed something wholly new ” ( 425 ) .

By juxtaposing Hurstwood ‘s narrative with Carrie ‘s, Dreiser maintains a double position on the chances the economic system holds out for persons. Social mobility is illustrated by Carrie ‘s economic rise and Hurstwood ‘s economic autumn and entails that motion is pursued non merely up the ladder of success but besides down it. When Hurstwood is introduced in the novel, “ he is an symbolic, powerful American male: married with kids, comfortably good off, a member of the new managerial category, at easiness in Chicago ‘s metropolitan scene ” . His diminution begins when he steals money from his employer and fast ones Carrie with a prevarication to acquire her on the train, Hurstwood begins a diminution that will speed up along with Carrie ‘s gradual societal ascent. Dreiser shows through Hurstwood ‘s autumn that the unfortunate “ other ” could in fact be any one — even a adult male of richness and repute. ( Eby, 2001, web )

While Sister Carrie registers the unpredictability of the economic system, vastly productive yet disastrously anomalous, an every bit of import context for Dreiser ‘s novel is the Darwinian revolution, which had its ain profound and frequently unsettling effects ( Eby, 2001, web ) . Many of Sister Carrie ‘s overarching themes-drift, opportunity, competition, battle, survival-derive straight from evolutionary idea. The Beginning of Species, published in 1859, asserted that all species derived from random fluctuation, non godly program. Evolutionary thoughts such as Darwin ‘s opened the door for replacing God with opportunity as the existence ‘s originative force. ( Eby, 2001, web )

“ Social Darwinism, ” which refers to the extension of evolutionary thoughts to human behaviour and interaction, was assumed from Darwin by many aces, most notably the British philosopher Herbert Spencer. The well-known phrase, “ endurance of the fittest, ” was in fact conceived non by Darwin but by Spencer. The latter, the writer of arduous books under rubrics such as First Principles ( 1862 ) , was greatly popular in the America of Dreiser ‘s twenty-four hours. Daring and unfounded thoughts like Spencer ‘s apostrophes to “ coerce ” appealed mightily to Dreiser, whom he describes in Sister Carrie as proclaiming a “ broad ” doctrine ( 87 ) . But Dreiser ‘s position of development followed merely small of Spencer ‘s signature optimism. Rather, Dreiser saw “ our civilisation ” as being in “ a in-between phase — barely beast [ . . . ] barely human ” ; as to human histrions, the storyteller of Sister Carrie proclaims our “ unconditioned inherent aptitudes dulled, ” our “ free will barely sufficiently developed ” ( 73 ) . Such thoughts indicate Dreiser ‘s affinity for a more compassionate strain of evolutionary idea. Although Social Darwinism has a long history of subventioning conservative political dockets in the U.S. — particularly for lauding the wealthy as “ fit ” and reprobate the hapless as “ weak ” — many progressive societal minds in Dreiser ‘s twenty-four hours used evolutionary thoughts to reason for opposite terminals. ( Eby, 2001, web )

Consequently to the Darwinian revolution, Sister Carrie ‘s puzzling moral stance indicates Dreiser ‘s deep battle with the affair of moralss. Carrie ‘s go forthing her sister to travel in with Drouet provokes the first of a series of ethical crises.Their initial responses suggest a conventional portraiture of seduction and wickedness:

“ Oh, ” thought Drouet, “ how delightful is my conquering. ”

“ Ah, ” thought Carrie, with plaintive scruples, “ what is it I have lost? ” ( 69 ) ( Eby, 2001, web )

But right after the characters ‘ predictable, even antiquated, responses, the storyteller cuts in to declare, “ Before this world-old proposition we stand, serious, interested, confused ; endeavouring to germinate the true theory of ethical motives — the true reply to what is right ” ( 69 ) . Worlds have sought for centuries the “ true reply ” to ethical quandary, but Dreiser, by bordering this quest in footings of “ evolving, ” non proclaiming, the moral order, approaches the decision of the taking philosophical motion of his twenty-four hours.

Dreiser ‘s evolutionary intervention of moralss in Sister Carrie finally fringes toward the revolutionist, in that he tries to acquire readers to suspend judgement on actions that would typically be condemned as immoral, such as Carrie ‘s prenuptial sex and Hurstwood ‘s larceny. In depicting Carrie ‘s set off from place the storyteller invokes the traditional moral judgement on a immature adult female who moves entirely to the metropolis: “ When a miss leaves her place at 18, she does one of two things. Either she falls into salvaging custodies and becomes better, or she quickly assumes the widely distributed criterion of virtuousness and becomes worse ” ( 3-4 ) . But that familiar judgement seems eventually to be a straw adult male ( or adult female ) , for when the storyteller displacement from looking at Carrie to analyzing the rule that would reprobate her — he calls it “ the universe ‘s attitude toward adult female ” — he unambiguously posits that “ actions such as hers are measured by an arbitrary graduated table ” ( 67 ) . Dreiser therefore discourages readers from sing Carrie as immoral, alternatively pulling attending to the desuetude of traditional moral criterions. The stoping of the novel is charged with significance in this respect, for Dreiser parts from long-standing literary tradition that “ fallen adult females ” must be punished, sooner by a awful decease. Carrie, to the contrary, may be unrealized or lonely at the novel ‘s terminal, but she is really much alive and eminently successful in the eyes of the universe. ( Eby, 2001, web )

Similarly, Dreiser handles Hurstwood ‘s life so as to prevent moralistic commentary. The affair of moral bureau is complicated from the central minute when Hurstwood bargains money from his Chicago, for the safe merely happens to hold been left unbarred on a dark when the director, untipically, has had excessively much to imbibe. Expecting his of import intervention of the trouble of separating offense from accident in An American Tragedy ( 1925 ) , Dreiser so clouds Hurstwood ‘s larceny in ambiguity that readers can non easy go through judgement. Rather than moving as a purposeful agent, Hurstwood “ could non convey himself to move decidedly ” ; he is “ drawn ” and “ driven ” to move by forces out of his control ( 191 ) . And so “ while the money was in his manus, the lock clicked. It had sprung. Did he make it? He grabbed at the boss and pulled smartly. It had closed. Heavens! ” ( 192 ) . Dreiser crafts this important minute to propose that Hurstwood, once more expecting Clyde Griffiths in An American Tragedy, “ was accused without being understood ” ( 299 ) . ( Eby, 2001, web )

Many of the established codifications of behavior were unsettled by the Darwinian revolution, some of the most extended of these alterations developed in gender dealingss. Here once more, Sister Carrie is an model text that so wholly registries change as to supply both deep penetration into its historical epoch and indispensable background for understanding the present effects of those alterations. Carrie ‘s and Hurstwood ‘s motion in opposite societal and economic waies draws attending to the eroding of Victorian premises about proper male versus female “ domains, ” a belief system that regulated many facets of middle- and upper-class white American life. Harmonizing to this 19th century ideal ( which still has many advocators ) , adult female ‘s proper “ sphere ” in the place allowed her to develop her innate nurturing inclinations while exerting her influence in an appropriate manner: by directing the moral development of her kids and hubby. Correspondingly, adult male ‘s “ sphere ” was the public universe, peculiarly the market place, where his competitory inclinations could be channeled to profit his household and society as a whole.

Although the storyteller of Sister Carrie engages in some gratuitous generalisations about adult females that may do Dreiser look conservative, his empathy for Carrie ‘s place and aspirations seems eventually the more revealing indicant of his positions on adult females. She begins the novel an ordinary immature adult female with an “ mean small scruples ” ( 71 ) that urges her to lodge to the traditional domain assigned adult females. But besides desiring to be a consumer — a desire that leads her to go from the traditional function and travel in with Drouet — Carrie is a Rebel, albeit mostly an inarticulate one. In precisely the same manner that “ her bosom rebelled ” ( 41 ) against the Hansons ‘ efforts to smother her personality, she chafes when her supposed hubby, the bigamist Hurstwood, attempts to incorporate her desires. Although externally quiet when they settle in New York, Carrie “ was coming to hold a few sentiments of her ain ” ( 213 ) . Because she is so eager to be a consumer, Carrie non surprisingly first discerns the dual criterion regulating work forces ‘s and adult females ‘s behavior in the manner Hurstwood sees fit to pass his dwindling shop of money. While Hurstwood Tells Carrie they do n’t hold adequate to purchase her any new apparels, “ she had non failed to detect that he did non look to confer with her about purchasing apparels for himself. [ . . . ] Her answer was mild plenty, but her ideas were rebellious ” ( 242 ) . Dreiser makes clear that Hurstwood routinely underestimates Carrie ‘s potency: “ he had non conceived good of her mental ability. That was because he did non understand the nature of emotional illustriousness ” ( 271 ) . Rather than see Carrie as she truly is, Hurstwood sees her as he wishes she would be — ” a married woman [ who ] could therefore be content. ” The ground for Hurstwood ‘s mistake in character analysis is easy plenty to grok: “ since he imagined he saw her satisfied, he felt called upon to give merely that which contributed to such satisfaction ” ( 222 ) . More ominously, the storyteller comments, “ Hurstwood was pleased with her placid mode, when he should hold punctually considered it ” ( 222 ) . While “ he saw nil remarkable in inquiring her to come down lower [ , . . . . ] her bosom revolted ” ( 317 ) .

Carrie ‘s “ rebellion ” is quiet but decisive. Finding the conventional domestic domain for adult females humble every bit good as suppression, Carrie decides she will non “ unrecorded cooped up in little level ” with person who treats her like a “ servant ” ( 319 ) . She decides for the 2nd clip to travel to work, and at this point switches functions with the unemployed Hurstwood. What Dreiser calls the “ beginning of the new order ” ( 280 ) occurs when Carrie starts gaining the money while Hurstwood Begins to make the shopping. Nothing less than a reversal of gender functions ensues as Carrie begins to inquire herself, “ Was she traveling to move and maintain house? [ . . . Hurstwood was ] waiting to populate upon her labour ” ( 275 ) . As might be expected, Carrie ‘s “ clicking independency gave her more bravery ” ( 278 ) , and she is shortly emboldened by her increasing salary to go forth the oppressive domestic domain wholly.

Carrie is non merely arising against her hubby but more significantly against the function that adult females were traditionally supposed to follow. As historian Barbara Welter describes the 19th century ideal for the white in-between category, the “ True Woman ” was expected to be pious, pure, domestic, and submissive. However a viing theoretical account for muliebrity emerged in the U.S. around the 1880s. The “ New Woman ” typically had a calling and was economically independent. Frequently New Women aligned themselves with members of their ain sex ( in partnerships that were non needfully romantic ) instead than in conventional matrimonies. ( Eby ) Carrie follows this form when, abandoning Hurstwood, she earns a all right income on phase and moves in with the more cheerful Lola Osborne. Yet the typical New Woman was better educated and often more politically inclined than Carrie, and so we might outdo think of Dreiser ‘s heroine as a transitional figure, traveling from the Victorian theoretical account of True Woman toward the recognizably modern New Woman.

Change in the societal place of either gender frequently creates a quandary for the other. This was surely the instance as the New Woman came on the scene, for she “ threatened work forces in ways her female parent ne’er did ” ( Smith-Rosenberg 245 ) . We see this happen as Carrie struggles to grok Hurstwood ‘s chronic unemployment, for her sense that “ ‘No adult male could travel seven months without happening something if he tried ‘ ” ( 309, accent added ) none excessively subtly inquiries his maleness. Hurstwood seems devitalized by Carrie ‘s working to back up him — although it is deserving nil that his first married woman ‘s control of him suggests a deep-rooted failing. Hurstwood ‘s diminution illustrates the decision of one historiographer that “ the feminine rebellion was making tenseness and confusion and disputing the masculine paradigm ” ( Dubbert 103-4 ) . Thus Dreiser ‘s novel as a whole exemplifies how the rise of the New Woman was attended by what historians describe as a “ crisis of maleness. ” For person like Hurstwood, who has lost his esteemed occupation pull offing Hannah and Hogg ‘s and finds it hard to go on in the obligatory male breadwinner function after traveling to New York, the crisis of maleness would be particularly acute.

When Carrie deserts Hurstwood, she leaves behind a short note and 20 dollars. With this fiscal dealing, Dreiser brings the fresh full circle — for it was with two “ soft, green, fine-looking ten-dollar measures ” that Charlie Drouet foremost tempted Carrie to go forth the suppression Hansons ( 62 ) . These minutes in the fresh gaining control how efficaciously Dreiser uses concrete inside informations to convey multiple degrees of historical alteration, for the 20 dollars synthesizes Sister Carrie ‘s permeant concern with economic world, with switching moral criterions, and with dramatically altering gender functions. Hurstwood will shortly be a self-destruction, and Carrie has emerged as a famed actress. Yet as Bob Ames will state her, “ ‘If I were you, [ . . . ] I ‘d alter. ‘ ” ( 367 ) And so, we may assume, will Carrie infinitely impetus and alteration, doing her an symbolic figure of the late 19th century, every bit good as a oddly disposed example of our ain clip.

With such problematic surrounding, the novel can merely turn out one point “ it is a narrative of existent life, of their lives ” ( Norman 474 ) . All of these state of affairss – philistinism, seduction, criminal conversation, bigamy, and theft-were really happening in existent life. Unable to asseverate his characters ‘ will against natural and economic forces Dreiser seldom passes judgement on them. These litigious fortunes created by Theodore Dreiser show the sarcasms within an emergent American civilization after the Civil War. Materialism and capitalist economy in a flourishing economic system, conventional criterions of work forces and adult females ‘s functions, and the denial of the American populace in response to the novel all prove that Sister Carrie was in front of its clip in portraying the reliable and pessimistic position of existent being.