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Buddy Reads > Sister Carrie-Ch 41-End

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message 1: by Silver (new)

Silver For discussing the last chapters of Sister Carrie and the book as a whole. Be warned if you have not finished the book spoilers may be found here.


message 2: by Lily (last edited Feb 14, 2011 08:29AM) (new)

Lily (joy1) | 1289 comments Here is an excellent listing of locations in Chicago used in Sister Carrie. Unfortunately, the pictures do not retrieve. (At least, for me.) Below is a site that can be used to identify some of these buildings and sites.

http://textsvr.library.upenn.edu/cgi/...

CARRIE'S RESIDENCES
# 1.354 West Van Buren (the Hansons' flat). [Fictional]
# 2.No. 29 Ogden Place (Carrie and Drouet's flat). [Fictional]

COMMERCIAL ENTERPRISES
# 3.Bartlett, Caryoe and Co. (Drouet's employer). Corner of State and Lake. [Fictional]
http://webapps.cityofchicago.org/land... -- this bldg. was at the corner of State and Lake
# 4.Rhodes, Morgenthau and Scott (shoe company where Carrie is employed). Adams and Fifth Avenue. [Fictional]
# 5.The Boston Store. 118–20 State.
http://chicago.urban-history.org/site...
# 6.Schlesinger and Mayer. State at southeast corner of Madison.
# 7.Carson, Pirie, Scott and Co. 234 W. Madison.
http://webapps.cityofchicago.org/land... -- at 1 S. State Street
# 8.The Fair. State, Adams, and Dearborn.
http://chicago.urban-history.org/site...
# 9.Sea and Co. 122–24 State.
# 10.Siegel, Cooper and Co. 185–89 Madison.

THEATERS
# 11.Grand Opera House. Clark, near Washington.
# 12.Criterion Theater. 87 Sedgwick.
# 13.McVicker's Theater. Madison, between State and Dearborn.
# 14.Hooley's Theater. Randolph, near La Salle.
# 15.Chicago Opera House. Washington, between Clark and LaSalle.
# 16.Columbia Theater. Monroe, between Clark and Dearborn.
# 17.Avery Hall. Madison and Throop (Carrie makes her acting debut here in Under the Gaslight). [Fictional]
# 18.H. R. Jacob's. Halstead and Madison.
# 19.Standard Theater. 169 S. Halstead.

HOTELS AND RESTAURANTS
# 20.Tremont Hotel. Dearborn and Lake.
# 21.Grand Pacific Hotel. Jackson and Clark.
# 22.Palmer House. State, southeast corner Monroe.
http://webapps.cityofchicago.org/land... (Link is a later, 1925 structure)
# 23.Windsor Hotel (Drouet and Carrie dine here before the seduction). Dearborn, between Madison and Monroe.
# 24.Rector's (Hurstwood and Drouet favor this restaurant). Clark and Monroe.
# 25.Hannah and Hogg's (Hurstwood is manager of this resort). Adams, opposite Federal Building.
# 26.Kinsley's Restaurant. 106–7 Adams.

PUBLIC BUILDINGS
# 27.The Exposition. Michigan Avenue at Adams.
# 28.Michigan Central Railroad Depot (Carrie is tricked by Hurstwood into boarding the train from this depot). Michigan and Lake.
# 29. Union Park Congregational Church, 60 N. Ashland Ave.
http://webapps.cityofchicago.org/land...

Historic maps and buildings in Chicago
http://webapps.cityofchicago.org/land...


message 3: by Jamie (new)

Jamie  (jaymers8413) Wow! Thanks Lily!


message 4: by Lily (new)

Lily (joy1) | 1289 comments Jamie wrote: "Wow! Thanks Lily!"

You are most welcome! Enjoy! This was part of the fun of my initial reading of Sister Carrie. I am fascinated by the buildings that went up in Chicago during this period and what their architecture and facades said about humans and their values and ambitions in America at that time -- and yet today.


message 5: by Pippa (new)

Pippa Some great buildings, they help bring the story to life. You can imagine Hurstwood walking the winter streets trying to survive against a backdrop of those new buildings. Thanks for sharing the links Lily


message 6: by LauraT (new)

LauraT (laurata) | 495 comments Really grat Lily!
And here we have the worst Dru was waiting in the other discussion: Hurstwood suicide, which Carrie doesn't even notice.
She maybe ends rocking in the chair not feeling happy, but she is fed, clothed, warm, all things that up to 4/5 years ago were granted to her by her lover. That she doesn't even try to find out what has become of him after having seen him begging in the streets is owfull. She is more than superficial and self centred; she is cruel.


message 7: by Alicatte (new)

Alicatte | 17 comments Dru wrote: "One more question: can all of you expalin why this book was banned? Is is just because she was living with these men? Or, is it the grim realism that was portrayed? I will look around online, but just curious what your thoughts are.
..."


In addition to this question, does anyone know if this book was first serialized? I was surprised that some of the chapters were so short. It read like it was serialized, but at the same time, I felt that Dreiser was very organized and had his story all laid out.


message 8: by Lily (new)

Lily (joy1) | 1289 comments Now that you have read the book published by Doubleday, I do highly recommend going to the Philadelphia site on Dreiser and spending some time exploring its contents, if you haven't already.

http://www.library.upenn.edu/collecti...


message 9: by Lily (new)

Lily (joy1) | 1289 comments Pippa wrote: "You can imagine Hurstwood walking the winter streets trying to survive against a backdrop of those new buildings."

Pippa -- you are most welcome for the links -- as I said, collecting and viewing them was part of my pleasure in my original reading, so let others enjoy and add, rather than spend the same research time!

I didn't, however, explore NYC during this same time frame to figure out architecturally what was going on there and how it contrasted with Chicago. I do have some NYC-related books on my bookshelf and I love the City (I live in NJ), so in pieces I'll probably siphon off a bit of that knowledge. Do remember NYC was largely the back-drop for Hurstwood's eventual free-fall; I can only wonder how little or how much the two cities were linked in business and cultural networks at the turn of the century.

I grew up in the Midwest and remember the first time I visited Chicago, at about the age of Carrie in this story. It was Christmas and Marshall Fields had its decorated store windows. It is my point of imagining the awe Carrie felt as Drouet took her to buy the coat she wanted.


message 10: by Lily (new)

Lily (joy1) | 1289 comments I like that Dreiser largely writes this book without making judgments about his characters -- he writes about their actions and how people around them judged and to some extent how they judged themselves. But, unless my reading and memory are faulty, he largely abstained from judging with an authorial voice. He lets their choices and actions have their results.

(How would you describe the narrator in this story. I haven't really thought about that question. In terms of structure, one of the things that struck me was how long and how far into the book before the pivotal point of Hurstwood's heist.)


message 11: by Lily (new)

Lily (joy1) | 1289 comments Dru wrote: "Lily, you must read the Devil in the White City if you are into early Chicago and architecture."

It is on my bookshelf (it got abandoned as a book club read some time back) -- thank you for encouraging me to get it onto my TBR stack. (I found Sister Carrie this morning -- I have been posting from notes and memory, but the Penguin publication of the Philadelphia edition is still among the missing.) ;-(

I see people here giving themselves reading challenges. They are encouraging me to draft a list!


message 12: by Jamie (last edited Feb 15, 2011 12:59PM) (new)

Jamie  (jaymers8413) Dru wrote: "Lily, you must read the Devil in the White City if you are into early Chicago and architecture. Highly recommend for you. Thank you so mmuch for posting all those locations.

I have found, havi..."


Have you read any of Wharton's novels? The House of Mirth and The Custom of the Country have main characters searching for more materialistically like Carrie in New York upper class society.


message 13: by Pippa (new)

Pippa Lily, you are right of course. Your links were Chicago not NY, so Hurstwood wouldn't have been wandering alone and starving round those building. But I'm sure the style of architecture would have been similar so I let the picture develop in my mind.

Like Dru, my exposure to Victorian literature has been almost exclusively British (except Tolstoy of course). So I am also going to source some more American stories. Are Dreiser's other books as good as this was? And it sounds like there are some good Wharton novels as well. Oh, where to start!?....


message 14: by Lily (new)

Lily (joy1) | 1289 comments Pippa wrote: "Lily, you are right of course. Your links were Chicago not NY, so Hurstwood wouldn't have been wandering alone and starving round those building. But I'm sure the style of architecture would have..."

Pippa -- didn't intend to be rude. It is just that I think of the two cities as being so different from each other. But, you may be right about the architecture -- it was a time of transition as new materials made skyscrapers possible and classical elements were integrated differently. Sullivan was such a strong influence in Chicago up to the turn of the century, then was rapidly superseded.

http://www.bc.edu/bc_org/avp/cas/fnar... -- some wonderful shots of Carson, Pine, and Scott when enlarged.

http://www.landmarks.org/sullivan_bio...

I saw a list of his buildings earlier today (most are no longer standing), but don't find it again now.


message 15: by Pippa (new)

Pippa Lily wrote: "Pippa -- didn't intend to be rude. It is just that I think of the two cities as being so different from each other"
Lily, you weren't rude at all! We are at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean down here so I tend to think of the US as one big country and all cities much the same - which of course they aren't! I have never been to mainland USA (only to Hawaii) but one day I'd love to visit Boston and NY.


message 16: by Lily (last edited Feb 16, 2011 08:44PM) (new)

Lily (joy1) | 1289 comments Dru wrote: "I read so many Victorian novels from England,and this experience makes me want to read more American Literature of the time period."

Dru -- ran across this link last night that talks about American writers of the late 19th and early 20th century:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American...

Others have mentioned Edith Wharton as a good contrast/comparison for Sister Carrie. Certainly her Age of Innocence and The House of Mirth would fit the bill. I actually enjoyed The Buccaneers, even though the critics are very harsh about the fit of the ending and the lack of editing that Wharton's death prevented her from completing.

Another interesting candidate might well be The Education of Henry Adams, a book that languishes on my shelves, begging from time-to-time to be read, a book that has a good reputation. ("Adams' literate autobiography, The Education of Henry Adams, also depicted a stinging description of the education system and modern life." -- from the above Wikipedia site. "Autobiographical work by Henry Adams...privately printed in 1906 and published in 1918. Considered to be one of the most distinguished examples of the genre, the Education combines autobiography, bildungsroman, and critical evaluation of an age....Adams marks the destruction of the human values that supported the achievements of his forebears and fears a future age driven by corruption and greed." -- The Merriam-Webster Encyclopedia of Literature)


message 17: by Lily (new)

Lily (joy1) | 1289 comments Dru wrote: "One more question: can all of you expalin why this book was banned? Is is just because she was living with these men? Or, is it the grim realism that was portrayed? I will look around online, but just curious what your thoughts are."

Well, since this is history, not certain that my thoughts matter. Here is the account as James L.W. West records it:

http://www.library.upenn.edu/collecti...

"Dreiser had written what he must have known to be an unpublishable novel. Its title character was a young woman who came to the city, formed two out-of-wedlock relationships, made her way onto the stage, and rose to fame and financial security. According to the conventions of the day she should have been punished for her moral lapses, but instead she was rewarded. Dreiser's typescript was also permeated with bleak, naturalistic thinking--antithetical to the pieties of the literary world. He probably knew that he would have to compromise his narrative if he were to see it into print, and toward this end he enlisted the help of Sara [Osborne White, his wife] and [Arthur] Henry. Both of them went over the typescript, toning down some of the blunt treatment of sex, smoothing over the style, but not (as it turned out) making the novel palatable enough for it to be accepted by the first house to which Dreiser would show it." -- excerpt from J.L.W. West article linked above.


message 18: by Lily (new)

Lily (joy1) | 1289 comments I finally found my Penguin "Pennsylvania edition" of Sister Carrie yesterday and took the time to read the last few pages of each version.

Here is its last chapter:
http://textsvr.library.upenn.edu/cgi/...

Here is the 1900 ("original") version:
http://textsvr.library.upenn.edu/cgi/...

Along with the above, I perused this essay, "Manuscript to Print", which talks about the startling changes that were made to the ending and who might have initiated them:

http://textsvr.library.upenn.edu/cgi/...


message 19: by Lily (new)

Lily (joy1) | 1289 comments I'm one of those people who can't read about Chicago without revisiting the iconic "Chicago" of Carl Sandburg (published 1916).

http://carl-sandburg.com/chicago.htm

"Come and show me another city with lifted head singing
so proud to be alive and coarse and strong and cunning.
Flinging magnetic curses amid the toil of piling job on
job, here is a tall bold slugger set vivid against the
little soft cities"


message 20: by Lily (new)

Lily (joy1) | 1289 comments One of the things that dissatisfied me about this novel was that I never felt I came to understand "why" Carrie was as self-centered as she seems.

I feel somewhat similarly about Hurstwood -- what in his character or background "permitted" him to steal the money, rather than to stay around until the next morning and tell his bosses what happened. I know Dreiser was first a journalist/reporter, but for a novel, I wanted more understanding.

Comments, anyone?


message 21: by Lily (new)

Lily (joy1) | 1289 comments Dru wrote: "This is just speculative, but as Carrie is somewhat based on Drieser's sister, I'm guessing she must have been like that. Writers often write "what they know"."

Which makes Carrie all the more mysterious to me and frustrated with Dreiser for not providing more clues. But maybe he just couldn't explore those family dynamics, if that is where her character arose.


message 22: by Lily (last edited Feb 21, 2011 08:45PM) (new)

Lily (joy1) | 1289 comments Pippa -- hope you, your family, friends, ... are okay. Just saw the earthquake headlines for Christchurch. (It looks like your home base of Auckland may be on a different island and some distance away?)


message 23: by Lily (new)

Lily (joy1) | 1289 comments Heard from Pippa on another thread (New Reads). Thankfully their families are safe. Still a shock, however.


message 24: by Lily (new)

Lily (joy1) | 1289 comments It seems to me there is a bit of the forerunner of the modern day Madonna in Carrie.


message 25: by Silver (new)

Silver Lily wrote: "One of the things that dissatisfied me about this novel was that I never felt I came to understand "why" Carrie was as self-centered as she seems.

I feel somewhat similarly about Hurstwood -- wh..."


I think that initially Carrie did just get swept up in things, while she does come off as seeming quite self-centered toward the begining, and she certainly develops herself to be very much so. At the start of it I do think there was a certain innocence/naivety to it.

She was a dreamer and she wanted more of herself and her life than what her circumstances provided for her, she moved to Chicago becasue her home town offered nothing to her, she was bored with it, and she wanted something more for herself. She wanted excitement. Than after meeting Drouet after her hardships in trying to find work she gets caught up in the glamor of everything and it would be hard for anyone not to be tempted by that life of easy luxury.

And than by the end of the novel I think that Carrie was really deeply affected, and perhaps jaded by her experiences with Drouet and Hurstwood. While she herself bares some of the blame for her involvement with them, both of these men greatly deceived her and in her eyes failed her. Drouet could not provide for her the true affection and attention which she wanted and that is what caused her to turn to Hurstwood, and than she discovered that his own promises to her were false, and he took advantage of her in his own selfish desire and in the name of his own self-fulfillment. But than after by his own actions he killed Carrie's ability to love him, he could also not provide her with the same lifestyle anymore.

After this Carrie's ability to trust and open herself up or love another man was deeply affected and she desperately tried to fill that voice which was left within her by her constantly gratifying her vain and materialistic urges.

The clothes, and the money, and the adoration became like a drug for her. When she would become depressed becasue of the emptiness left in her life, she could temporarily feel the void by buying new clothes, showing off, drinking in the applause of the audience.


message 26: by Lily (last edited Mar 01, 2011 06:28AM) (new)

Lily (joy1) | 1289 comments Silver wrote: "I think that initially Carrie did just get swept up in things, while she does come off as seeming quite self-centered toward the beginning, and she certainly develops herself to be very much so. At the start of it I do think there was a certain innocence/naivety to it."

Silver -- a thoughtful analysis of Carrie. Thanks for taking the time to formulate and post it. You reinforce my view that the central moral issues of the book do not revolve around sexuality, as least not any more or less than life lived does so. Dreiser gives us issues of responsibility, accountability, and self fulfillment within the constraints of economic, social, and political realities and abuses.


message 27: by Silver (new)

Silver I have to say I was quite perplexed by the ending of this book. Not because the ending itself was confusing but because I had been mislead as to what to expect.

In one of my English courses we were discussing a book, I cannot recall which now, it may have been The House of Mirth which does share similarities to Sister Carrie, and someone made a reference to Sister Carrie dying at the end of the book which annoyed me since I had been planning on reading it.

So to say the least at first I was rather baffled by the ending, and wondering if I was missing something. I do not know if I had misunderstood them, or if they meant Hurstwood, or perhaps just misremebered the book.

It does seem as of Hurstwood's downfall is a close reflection of Lilly Bart's.


message 28: by Lily (new)

Lily (joy1) | 1289 comments No death for Carrie, just the rocking chair. At least in the better known ending.


message 29: by Silver (new)

Silver Lily wrote: "No death for Carrie, just the rocking chair. At least in the better known ending."

Does she die in the original version of the story?


message 30: by Lily (new)

Lily (joy1) | 1289 comments "Dreiser also changed the ending of Sister Carrie. The notes that survive with the manuscript suggest that he was influenced to do so by Sara, and possibly by Henry as well, though one can only speculate about their roles. Whatever the case, Dreiser altered his conclusion, ending not with the death of Hurstwood but with Carrie in her rocking chair, still melancholy and desirous, unsatisfied by her fame and possessions. Dreiser also altered the end of the penultimate chapter of the book, Chapter XLIX, so that Robert Ames, the young inventor from the Midwest, would not appear to be a romantic possibility for Carrie." --J.W.L. West III
More here: http://www.library.upenn.edu/collecti...


message 31: by Silver (new)

Silver Thank you for the infor


message 32: by Jaime (new)

Jaime (janastasiow) I just finished this and wow. I feel like there was closure regarding all of the characters, which I'm pleased with. I must say I felt as though Carrie developed and grew as a character when all of the others did not. Its so sad as I have no doubt Carrie, in her new station, would have financially sustained Hurstwood given the opportunity. But just as he had to hide her when he was initially married, she now has to hide him as she won't ever have a chance at marriage if anyone knows about him. His final state was his own doing or undoing. He chose to steal, lie, and then not work. He gave up when Carrie and he still had their flat.

Carrie was too embarrassed about what she did to Drouet to be able to even be friends with him. It was closer to shame I think. Yet he's still going after girls while trying to take her out. He'll never change.

I think Carrie would have been unhappy no matter what. I'm glad she doesn't have to suffer with a man she doesn't truely love to be able to live now, though.


message 33: by Jaime (new)

Jaime (janastasiow) Dru wrote: "I'm glad you finished it, Jaime, as I remember you feeling a bit lukewarm. Yes, I love the ending. I had to read it more than once to let it sink in. The part that got to me was that boat, taking..."

No, I was never lukewarm, I just joined the group late.

Yes, and had Carrie known, she, not his real family, would have happily paid for a proper burial no doubt.

I kept waiting for Hurstwood to beg and look up to find it Drouet he was begging from but it never happened.


message 34: by Lily (new)

Lily (joy1) | 1289 comments Jaime wrote: "Yes, and had Carrie known, she, not his real family, would have happily paid for a proper burial no doubt."

Jaime -- what takes you there? I'm not certain I would give Carrie that much credit.


message 35: by Jaime (new)

Jaime (janastasiow) She had no problem giving him what she had when she saw him. She doesn't even care about her money at the end. She would have done it, IMO, to alleviate her own gulit.


message 36: by Jaime (new)

Jaime (janastasiow) Dru wrote: "She would have, as long as she could do it incognito."

I agree.


message 37: by Lily (new)

Lily (joy1) | 1289 comments Jaime wrote: "She had no problem giving him what she had when she saw him."

I had forgotten that. (I remembered Drouet giving money to the man Carrie and Hurstwood ignored.) Thx, Jaime.


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