sister carrie

By Jennifer Mason,2014-06-28 11:44
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sister carrie

    Final exam

    ; I. Match (15%. 1 point for each)

    ; II. True or False (15%. 1 point for each)

    ; III. Multiple Choice (10%. 2 points for each)

    ; IV. Terms (20%. 10 points for term 1, and 5 points for each of term 2 and term 3) ; V. Questions (40%. 10 points for each of question 1 and question 2, and 20

    points for question 3)

    Theodore Dreiser (1871-1945)

    ; Born in Indiana, poor.

    ; First novelSister Carrie (1900) was rejected for its relentless honesty in presenting

    the true nature of American life.

    ; Led the rebellion of the 1920s, and the revival of naturalism in the 1930s enthroned

    Dreiser as the guide and pioneer for the latter-day naturalists ; It is in Dreisers works that American naturalism is said to have come of age. ; Left-oriented--visited Russia and wrote Dreiser Looks at Russia (1928) and Tragic

    America (1931)joined the Communist Party.

    ; A controversial figurepowerful in portrayal of the changing American life, but his style

    is considered crude.

    ; The greatest influenceHerbert Spencer social Darwinism: man as merely an animal

    driven by greed and lust in a struggle for existence in which only the fittest, the most

    ruthless, survive. Man is only a mechanism reacting to “chemic compulsion”, and

    human tragedy comes as a result of the collision between mans biological needs and

    societys ruthless manipulation. Life is predatory, a game of the lecherous and

    heartless, a jungle struggle in which man is a mere pawn in the general scheme of things,

    with no power whatever to assert his will. No one is ethically free; everything is

    determined by a complex of internal chemisms and by the forces of social pressure. ; Dreisers writings reveal a tremendous vital lust for life with a conviction that man is the

    end and measure of all things in a world which is devoid of purpose and standards.

    Major works

    ; Sister Carrie (1900)

    ; Jennie Gerhardt (1911)

    Cowperwood trilogy The Financier (1912)

     The Titan (1914)

    The Stoic (1947)

    ; The Genius (1915)

    ; An American Tragedy (1925)

    ; The Bulwark (1946)

    Sister Carrie (1900)

    ; Setting: Time: 1890s Place: Chicago/New York

    ; Two primary Characterstwo narratives of social mobility:

    A. Steady Rise--Carrie Meeber /Sister Carrie: a country girl an actress ; Strong determination to have a better life

    ; Her goals are clothes, money and fame, and the means by which she achieves them are

    relatively unimportant.

    ; Rise by the means of a male stepladder

    ; A seeker and lover, not be satisfied, always be a new world to conquer, new goals to


    ; Alone and helpless, she moves along like a mechanism driven by desire and catches

    blindly at any opportunities for a better existence, opportunities are first offered by

    Drouet and then by Hursthood. She is totally at the mercy of forces that she cannot

    understand, still less to say control.

     B. Charles Drouet:

    ; A traveling salesman, gaily-dressed, tasteless Carries first lover

    ; An escape for Carrie

    ; An intermediary in her movement from poverty to affluence

    C. Steady DownfallGeorge Hurstwood: a managerpennilesscommit suicide:

    ; An acquaintance of Drouet, manager of a prominent Chicago tavern

    ; Middle-class, middle-aged, married

    ; Is smitten by Carries youth and vitality

    ; Embezzles 10000 dollarsforces Carrie to elope with him (most lives are

    determined by accident rather than intention)

    ; Penniless

    ; Commits suicide

    ; An impotent and weak modern man who proves himself utterly unfit to survive

    ; Hovering between being a man and a beast in his behavior


    ; The purposelessness of life “a wisp in the wind of social forces. The ubiquitous

    rocking chair is the perfect symbols for sister Carrie. It is an instrument that forever

    moves but never goes anywhere and never truly achieves anything. Carries every

    success is ultimately unsatisfying and every new horizon offers only a hollow promise.)

    ; Disillusionment of the American Dream

    ; Amoralityman is neither good nor evil, but is always struggling to survive. Might

    is right.

    Dreiser’s Style

    ; Weaknesses: Formless at times and awkwardly written

    ; Characterizationdeficient; his prosepedestrian and dull

    ; Virtues: Stories are solid and intensely interesting with their simple but highly moving


    ; Good at employing the journalistic method of reiteration to burn a central impression into

    the readers mind

    ; His interest in painting is reflected in his taste for word-pictures, sharp contrast, truth in

    color, and movement in outline.

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