Sister Carrie

Sister Carrie: Finding Identity In the City

In Sister Carrie, the city is the narrator. It is the main focus of the book, and greatly impacts all those who are influenced by its magnitude. For some, it is a beacon of hope and a promised land of wealth and opportunity, while for others its walls close in more everyday as they fight the battle of poverty and the effects of being low to middle class. The city can make or break a person; it is truly a matter of survival of the fittest. The city will reveal a tragic flaw in a person, or it will be a foundation for extreme success. The city, with all its material prospects and consumer culture, is a combination of utopia and tragic disappointment, where the men who influence her make Carrie into a rags-to-riches success.

In Chicago, Carrie feels the drag of desire upon her while looking for a job. She does not want to blend in with most people of the city, those who are plain and ordinary, but longs to stand out. She envies the clothing and fine material possessions that women of finer backgrounds flaunt and cannot bring herself to adapt to the fact that she is below them. This holds true even when she is a wage-seeker without anything. "To avoid a certain indefinable shame she felt at being caught spying for a position,...

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