Throughout history there has been many great authors that have created even greater works, and some people refer to these as classics. However, what truly makes an authors’ work a classic? “The idea of a classic implies something that has continuance and consistence, and which produces unity and tradition, and transmits itself, and endures.” “A true classic, is an author who has expressed his thought, and who has spoken to all in his own peculiar style” (Hutchins). Theodore Dreiser is the epitome of this very definition. Dreiser drew upon his upbringing, life experiences, and the situations of his family members and transformed these collective experiences into his very first novel, “Sister Carrie”. This specific piece of work is unlike any novel before it because it displays the idea of the “American Dream” in a completely different way in which no other author could do and as such it still stands as a very influential novel today.
“He was the first to point out the fragile vulnerability of the facade that was understood to be the American Dream and to depict the awful but beautiful reality that supports the facade” (Johnson). The theme of the American Dream makes up the entire surface idea of the novel. Dreiser displays a reality of success that many have aligned with the idea of the American Dream, while at the same time displaying the failures that may come along with them. Carrie goes through life barely trying, and yet it the end achieves so much. However, her achievement leaves her feeling empty because it contrasts with her personality of always wanting to accomplish more and more. Hurstwood exhibits the American idea of opportunity by having an affair with Carrie an...
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... Essays(2008): 65-75. Literary Reference Center Plus. Web. 28 Jan. 2014.
Johnson, Clarence O. "Theodore Dreiser." Critical Survey of Long Fiction. Ed. Rollyson Carl, 4th ed. 10 vols. Salem Press, 2010. Salem Literature Web. 1 Feb. 2014.
Kazin, Alfred, et al. "Studies." The stature of Theodore Dreiser; a critical survey of the man and his work. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1955. 171-179. Print.
Lydenberg, John, and Malcolm Cowley. "Sister Carrie's Brother." Dreiser: a collection of critical essays. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall, 1971. 52-57. Print
Pizer, Donald. "Sister Carrie." The novels of Theodore Dreiser: a critical study. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1976. 31-36. Print.
Warren, Robert Penn. Homage to Theodore Dreiser, August 27, 1871-December 28, 1945, on the centennial of his birth. New York: Random House, 1971. Print.
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