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Sister Carrie

In August of 1889, Carrie Meeber leaves her small town to find employment in the city of Chicago. Theodore Dreiser, the author of Sister Carrie, informs the reader that, "Self-interest with her was high, but not strong. It was nevertheless her guiding characteristic.". With her youth and innocence she hopes to seek employment so that she can get and buy all the nice things that she wants. Carrie does not have any idea how hard this is going to be.
When she tries to find a job, she is scared. Carrie has no skills to offer an employer, no job experience, and her clothing was of poor quality. Chicago was a large city, but society at that time did not have many job opportunities for working women. The only jobs that Carrie could possibly get were in the factories that, paid low wages, had poor working conditions, and long hours. She knew that after she paid rent to her brother-in-law, she would have very little left to buy all the beautiful things that she longed for. When Carrie took the job at the shoe factory, she did not like the hard work and considered the other women who worked there to be common. When winter arrived, Carrie got sick and stayed home from work which caused her to lose her job.
On the train to Chicago, Carrie had met a traveling salesman, Charlie H. Drouet. She is impressed by the way he talks and dresses. When they meet again, Drouet is aware of her beauty and innocence and he hopes to charm and seduce her. He "lends" Carrie money to buy nice winter clothes, treats her to fine meals, takes her to the theater, and shows her the sights of Chicago. Because Carrie is young and inexperienced in the world of men, she is not wise enough to understand where all Drouet's attention is leading toward. Although she senses that the money should be given back, her desire and longing for the good things in life are so powerful that she ignores her beliefs in what is right and wrong.
Unable to find another job, Carries is forced to make a decision, returning to Wisconsin or letting Drouet keep her as his mistress. Choosing to remain with Drouet was an extraordinary decision. This went against everything society taught. It was unthinkable for any decent woman to live with a man without marriage.
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