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*Sister Carrie*

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  • winstonsmith_99
    I read the first four chapters last night. They are a superbly executed specimen of isolation. Carrie is totally alone in the sea of humanity that is Chicago.
    Message 1 of 4 , Sep 2, 2005
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      I read the first four chapters last night. They are a superbly
      executed
      specimen of isolation. Carrie is totally alone in the sea of humanity
      that is Chicago. She's even alone in the pond of humanity that is her
      sister's home. Or, perhaps, she isn't among humanity at all. Notice
      how
      the people in the city and in her sister's home are all machine-like.
      The sister especially is described in terms made all the more robotic
      because she is Carrie's sister. One would expect a bit more sisterly
      sentiment between the two.

      I think the major novels written before SC that described such
      oppressive isolation had a man as the main character. Such a story in
      which a young woman, a girl really, is the main character must have
      been powerful and shocking when it was first published, because girls
      are far more pitiable than men. We expect men to be able to take care
      of themselves, but girls, especially a young girl from the country
      who
      suddenly finds herself in Chicago. . .we *have* to worry about her.

      Dreiser very cleverly used the reader's psychology and sensitivities
      to
      potent effect.
    • hecon_99
      I finally got a copy of Sister Carrie and just started it. I was also struck by Carrie s isolation and the lack of feeling for her that her sister shows. Even
      Message 2 of 4 , Sep 14, 2005
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        I finally got a copy of Sister Carrie and just started it. I was also
        struck by Carrie's isolation and the lack of feeling for her that her
        sister shows. Even the initial greeting has no warmth.
        So far, I don't like the book that much. Dreiser seems to keep tapping
        us on the shoulder and pointing out what we should think.
        Henry

        --- In modernlibrary100greatestbooks@yahoogroups.com,
        "winstonsmith_99" <winstonsmith_99@y...> wrote:
        > I read the first four chapters last night. They are a superbly
        > executed
        > specimen of isolation. Carrie is totally alone in the sea of humanity
        > that is Chicago. She's even alone in the pond of humanity that is her
        > sister's home. Or, perhaps, she isn't among humanity at all. Notice
        > how
        > the people in the city and in her sister's home are all machine-like.
        > The sister especially is described in terms made all the more robotic
        > because she is Carrie's sister. One would expect a bit more sisterly
        > sentiment between the two.
        >
        > I think the major novels written before SC that described such
        > oppressive isolation had a man as the main character. Such a story in
        > which a young woman, a girl really, is the main character must have
        > been powerful and shocking when it was first published, because girls
        > are far more pitiable than men. We expect men to be able to take care
        > of themselves, but girls, especially a young girl from the country
        > who
        > suddenly finds herself in Chicago. . .we *have* to worry about her.
        >
        > Dreiser very cleverly used the reader's psychology and sensitivities
        > to
        > potent effect.
      • dmaynard
        Hello I joined the group a few days ago and have just begun reading Sister Carrie, my first time with Dreiser. I m finding it very readable. I look forward to
        Message 3 of 4 , Sep 15, 2005
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          Hello
          I joined the group a few days ago and have just begun reading Sister Carrie, my first time with Dreiser. I'm finding it very readable. I look forward to joining you all for the countdown of what appears to be a wonderful list of novels.
          Warm wishes
          Donna (UK)


          hecon_99 <hecon_99@...> wrote:
          I finally got a copy of Sister Carrie and just started it. I was also
          struck by Carrie's isolation and the lack of feeling for her that her
          sister shows. Even the initial greeting has no warmth.
          So far, I don't like the book that much. Dreiser seems to keep tapping
          us on the shoulder and pointing out what we should think.
          Henry





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        • winstonsmith_99
          Henry, As far as Minnie and her husband are concerned, Carrie s staying at their home is purely a business partnership. I sort of feel sorry for Minnie, as she
          Message 4 of 4 , Sep 19, 2005
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            Henry, As far as Minnie and her husband are concerned, Carrie's
            staying at their home is purely a business partnership. I sort of
            feel sorry for Minnie, as she is stuck between Carrie and her
            husband. But still, I would expect at least nominal affection between
            Carrie and Minnie.

            I appreciate Dreiser's authorial insertions. They remind me of a
            Greek chorus, guiding both the action of the story and our
            interpretation of it. There's no guessing about Dreiser's purpose or
            even what to expect. It's better than magic; part of the magician's
            impact is in the element of surprise, in the audience not knowing
            what's going to happen. I think it's amazing that with *Sister
            Carrie* we know precisely what's going to happen thanks to the
            authorial insertions, and yet we're still amazed. And even though
            there isn't a lot of suspense, the story holds my attention. I
            attribute its success to the expertly crafted prose, precise
            character development, and the realist's ability to show us the depth
            of everyday experience. Take the first several chapters of the story;
            what's it about? A young country girl gets bored with home. She
            decides to go to the big city and stay with her sister, get a job,
            and fulfill her notions of the good life. She finds out it's a lot
            more difficult than she imagined it would be. On the surface, how
            boring is that? It's practically the story of every young person who
            has ever drawn breath. But, you put that scenario into the hands of a
            Dreiser, and you see the intricacies of the internal and external
            conflicts. Suddenly, Carrie becomes not just another naive kid, but
            or own younger sister. We read of her experience and we want to warn
            her about what's about to happen to her if she continues on her
            present path. In short, we connect with her, even though she is
            really just ink on a page of paper (or is she?). This is the value
            and purpose of art in general and literature in particular.

            --- In modernlibrary100greatestbooks@yahoogroups.com, "hecon_99"
            <hecon_99@y...> wrote:
            > I finally got a copy of Sister Carrie and just started it. I was
            also
            > struck by Carrie's isolation and the lack of feeling for her that
            her
            > sister shows. Even the initial greeting has no warmth.
            > So far, I don't like the book that much. Dreiser seems to keep
            tapping
            > us on the shoulder and pointing out what we should think.
            > Henry
            >
            > --- In modernlibrary100greatestbooks@yahoogroups.com,
            > "winstonsmith_99" <winstonsmith_99@y...> wrote:
            > > I read the first four chapters last night. They are a superbly
            > > executed
            > > specimen of isolation. Carrie is totally alone in the sea of
            humanity
            > > that is Chicago. She's even alone in the pond of humanity that is
            her
            > > sister's home. Or, perhaps, she isn't among humanity at all.
            Notice
            > > how
            > > the people in the city and in her sister's home are all machine-
            like.
            > > The sister especially is described in terms made all the more
            robotic
            > > because she is Carrie's sister. One would expect a bit more
            sisterly
            > > sentiment between the two.
            > >
            > > I think the major novels written before SC that described such
            > > oppressive isolation had a man as the main character. Such a
            story in
            > > which a young woman, a girl really, is the main character must
            have
            > > been powerful and shocking when it was first published, because
            girls
            > > are far more pitiable than men. We expect men to be able to take
            care
            > > of themselves, but girls, especially a young girl from the country
            > > who
            > > suddenly finds herself in Chicago. . .we *have* to worry about
            her.
            > >
            > > Dreiser very cleverly used the reader's psychology and
            sensitivities
            > > to
            > > potent effect.
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