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Buddy Reads > Sister Carrie-Ch. 31-40

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message 1: by Silver (last edited Feb 08, 2011 09:34AM) (new)

Silver For discussing chapters 31-40 of Sister Carrie, there may be spoilers in this thread.


message 2: by Pippa (new)

Pippa Dru wrote: "Oh, I'm almost done. I am loving this book. Can things get much worse???????"

It's a great read isn't it? The two of them seem to live such separate lives, Carrie seems almost oblivious to Hurstwood's struggles. When things start to get really tough, the two of them don't seem to want to find a way out together - both act as individuals. Carrie seems happy to spend Hurstwood's money, but when she begins earning she seems unwilling to share her money with him, continually trying to better herself by buying things. Her selfishness just keeps getting worse.


message 3: by LauraT (new)

LauraT (laurata) | 497 comments Terrible this part. Hurstwood is immobile!!! A real depressed, but maybe at the time they didn't know how far could depression lead persons.
Yes Dru: it can go MUCH worse than this!!!!
Pippa: This is waht I can't stand of Carrie: it was ok to spend her man's money; but she is not willing to help him in retorune! Not a wink!
Terrible the scenes with the drivers on strike.
Grat book; it makes me wanting to look form some oether things by Dreiser, like An American Tragedy ...


message 4: by Jamie (last edited Feb 15, 2011 03:24AM) (new)

Jamie  (jaymers8413) LauraT wrote: "Terrible this part. Hurstwood is immobile!!! A real depressed, but maybe at the time they didn't know how far could depression lead persons.
Yes Dru: it can go MUCH worse than this!!!!
Pippa: Th..."


I found An American Tragedy to be much different seeing it was published 25 years later. As Carrie has resemblances to Dreiser's sister's life, A.T. resembles real events of a popular trial. The last 3rd of the book to me was not as good as the preceding part and seemed to drag out but I feel it was important to the book. News article are easily available online and a movie was made called A Place in the Sun starring Elizabeth Taylor and Montgomery Clift. A.T. is a great read! There is also a Sister Carrie movie that I am waiting on from Netflix.

I recently purchased Jennie Gerhardt published in 1911. I am interested to see how it fits with the above books! On Wikipedia it says Jennie Gerhardt the character was influenced by Dreiser's sisters Mame and Sylvia, that Dreiser admitted he didn't like Jennie Gerhardt in an interview, and Dreiser was asked if Jennie was informed by the eponymous character in Thomas Hardy's Tess of the d'Urbervilles and Dreiser confirmed it. Has anyone read this book?


message 5: by Lily (new)

Lily (joy1) | 1290 comments Dru wrote: "Oh, I'm almost done. I am loving this book. Can things get much worse???????"

Dru -- I'll be so bold as to ask you what leads you to "love this book." I thought it was a prescient look at the America that evolved from that time and it led me to learn a fair amount about Chicago at the turn of the century, but I would never have spoken of loving it, so it is my curiosity asking. You need not reply!

I spent some time yesterday reading the many reader reviews posted on this site. They are fascinating and I recommend them to all who are reading Sister Carrie for this discussion, although you may want to wait until you have finished the book.


message 6: by Pippa (new)

Pippa Lily wrote: Dru -- I'll be so bold as to ask you what leads you to "love this book."

I also loved this book - because it opened my eyes to life in early Chicago and USA and all its glory and despair.

I recently read two other books which I loved, but which left me a bit of a wreck - The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns.

I believe books that lead to a strong emotional reaction from you as you read them must be good, be that reaction positive or negative.

If a book doesn't linger and make me think, it isn't on my list of "loved" books (and as I write this, perhaps "love" is slightly the wrong term for me anyway!)


message 7: by Lily (new)

Lily (joy1) | 1290 comments Dru, Pippa -- thank you for your comments! I am fascinated by what leads womeone to feel strongly about a book.


message 8: by LauraT (new)

LauraT (laurata) | 497 comments Jamie wrote: I recently purchased Jennie Gerhardt published in 1911. I am interested to see how it fits with the above books
I don't know this book; I'd love to read something else of Dreiser, and maybe it's better to start with something closer to Sister Carrie than An american Tragedy as you were saying ...
I'll think about it.


message 9: by Silver (new)

Silver I found it quite interesting seeing the tables turned so to speak, with Hurstwood now being the one who is out looking for work and seeing the way in which he has some of the same experiences and reservations which Carrie herself had in her earlier efforts to try and find a place somewhere.


message 10: by Lily (new)

Lily (joy1) | 1290 comments Silver wrote: "I found it quite interesting seeing the tables turned so to speak, with Hurstwood now being the one who is out looking for work and seeing the way in which he has some of the same experiences and reservations which Carrie herself had ..."

I quite agree. One of the surprising and thoughtful insights of the book -- could be useful in any articles chronicling or cajoling today's unemployed.


message 11: by Jaime (new)

Jaime (janastasiow) What a weak, pathetic, shell of a man Hurstwood has become. And it's driving me crazy that's we've gone years now and not a mention of Drouet.


message 12: by Lily (new)

Lily (joy1) | 1290 comments Jaime wrote: "What a weak, pathetic, shell of a man Hurstwood has become. And it's driving me crazy that's we've gone years now and not a mention of Drouet."

Does Dreiser give us reasons for empathy for Hurstwood?


message 13: by Jaime (new)

Jaime (janastasiow) Lily wrote: "Jaime wrote: "What a weak, pathetic, shell of a man Hurstwood has become. And it's driving me crazy that's we've gone years now and not a mention of Drouet."

Does Dreiser give us reasons for emp..."


Not that I see, but people feel empathy differently and the term itself is based on past experiences.


message 14: by Lily (last edited Mar 03, 2011 02:32PM) (new)

Lily (joy1) | 1290 comments Jaime wrote: "Lily wrote: "Jaime wrote: "What a weak, pathetic, shell of a man Hurstwood has become. And it's driving me crazy that's we've gone years now and not a mention of Drouet."

Does Dreiser give us reasons for empathy for Hurstwood?"


Jaime -- not certain I can articulate this well, and I certainly haven't thought it through thoroughly, but somehow I have the sense the empathy Dreiser paints for Hurstwood is more related to the tyrannies of social systems than to Hurstwood's own personal traits. For example, once down, it is hard to get "back up." Networks and relationships and pull matter as much or more than individual skills and knowledge. Memberships are required. Men support women, rather than vice versa.

I may be stretching to go this direction in interpretation, but I do think great literature, which this at least borders upon, has us look at society and its institutions and its ways of being as well as at individuals, with all their vulnerabilities. weaknesses, and strengths.


message 15: by Jaime (new)

Jaime (janastasiow) I really don't think it's much different today...


message 16: by Lily (new)

Lily (joy1) | 1290 comments Jaime wrote: "I really don't think it's much different today..."

Uh, huh! For both individuals and institutions? (At least we can look at a few institutions as having changed over time. Humans? Yes, I guess them, too.)


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