The Fall of Carrie and Hurstwood

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The Fall of Carrie and Hurstwood

Sister Carrie, written by Theodore Dreiser, is a tale of Carrie, who comes to Chicago to somehow make the money she has always dreamed of having. In pursuit of the material possessions and success she dreams of, she involves herself with two different characters, Drouet and Hurstwood. She eventually finds herself in New York, where she has a successful performing career. Even with all the success and material possessions she has attained do not bring her happiness. Due to naturalism and pre-existing conditions between Carrie and Hurstwood, human interactions in exchange for materialism lead to the downfall of the two characters.

Early in the text, it is evident that Carrie has an excessive greed for things such as clothing and money. Upon meeting Drouet, she immediately is blinded to the advantages he can bring her, such as expensive and beautiful clothing. Carrier soon realized all the city had to offer her, such as "wealth, fashion, ease – every adornment for women, and she longed for dress and beauty with a whole heart" (Dreiser, 21). Carrie is aroused by "something promising in all the material prospect" that Drouet had to offer (Dreiser, 5). While her background does subconsciously caution her momentarily, she ignores her misgivings in exchange for the happiness that Drouet's success might bring her. The same things that entice Carrie to Drouet also entice her to Hurstwood.

Perhaps it is safe to say that Carrie came to Chicago in pursuit of the American Dream because of "the drag of a lean and narrow life" (Dreiser, 11). The exchange of her life from dull Wisconsin to Chicago signifies her chase of a better and more fulfilling life. The realization that her life was still "the drag of a lean and narrow life" (Dreiser, 11) hampered Carrie's hope for the American Dream. Carrie was determined to not be "a common shop-girl" (Dreiser, 51). Once Drouet gives Carrie money, he dominates her life because she loves what he possesses. His possessions are Carrie's ultimate dream and goal in life.

Carrie allows other characters in the story to determine her fate and guide her actions. While Carrie is unaware of it, her relationship with Drouet sets up a pattern that drives her relationship with him and other men.

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