Sister Carrie

Speculate on what the author is foreshadowing life will be like in Chicago for Carrie.

What clues in the chapter lead you to your conclusions?

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Last updated by Dezii M #401293
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Carrie goes to Chicago to take advantage of the numerous opportunities that city will afford her. We know little about her background and her persona changes with her circumstances; Carrie in fact changes as often as the scenery.

She leaves for Chicago to go to her sister who lives there; she leaves her small home town with nothing more than four dollars, a few personal items, and her sisters address. At this point we worry about exactly how naive she really is.

She meets a stranger on the train (Drouet) and gives him more information than she should (naive again), and when she arrives at her sister's finds they have little enough to keep themselves....... she needs a job and needs it fast. But she doesn't get a job right away, and when she expresses interest in going to the theatre, she sparks immediate resentment (especially from her sister's husband) because she should be worrying about helping them out and paying for the food she eats........ not entertainment.

Dreiser also gives us a detailed look at Carries preferences. She embarrassed by her worn clothing and yearns for nice things. The things she does own are all cheap imitations......... an imitation alligator-skin satchel, a yellow leather snap purse. These are the things that mark the way America is changing and the manufacturing of products. Demand for nice things is high, but the demand for lower income consumers to "feel" they have something really nice is on the rise with imitation goods.

So as for foreshadowing...... we have a young, naive girl who like nice things. She's interested in the attention of men but keeps them a secret from her family. She hides Drouet because their relationship might be deemed improper, but she also enjoys the monetary things he gives her....... I think she's in trouble.


Sister Carrie