The meaning of Theodore Dreiser’s novel “Sister Kerry”: how a person chooses his own destiny

Theodore Dreiser is an American Dostoyevsky. The author sought without embellishment to show the origins of the nation, the path of its development, as well as the sad ending for many citizens who have contracted the disease of the “American dream”.

Today we will analyze Dreiser’s first novel called “Sister Carrie”. So sit back, it will be interesting!

Brief story

The book “Sister Carrie” tells us the story of Caroline Meiber, who goes to the big city of Chicago to try to gain a foothold here. She was barely 18 years old, she is inexperienced and young, but very sensual, which her involuntary companion immediately notices.

Arriving in the city, she stays with her sister, who lives honestly with her husband, but is poor and colorless. The family way of life is built on total savings for the sake of the future of children, contributions are regularly paid for the land purchased from the city.

Kerry gets a job at a shoe factory, but the hard work and low wages do not suit her. The girl dreamed of security, even wealth in her life.

Images from Sisters KerryPhoto:

Having fallen ill, the girl does not go to work and she is fired. Upon learning of this, her own sister asks her to go home so as not to be a burden on her family.

At the same time, she meets her casual companion Charles Drouet, a good-natured, successful fellow who was a great specialist in seducing young girls. He, seeing the deplorable situation of Kerry, helps her get settled in the city, makes her a concubine.

Sister KerryPhoto:

Then Drouet introduces her to his friend George Hurstwood, who manages a successful bar, and spins at the top of Chicago society. Kerry falls in love with him, not knowing that the latter has a wife and children.

And then a love triangle is created, neurotic relationships, unexpected success and death in poverty. We deliberately will not spoil the entire plot so that you do not lose the pleasure of reading. And now let’s move on to the analysis of the meaning of the work.

The meaning of the novel

Despite the fact that “Sister Carrie” is Dreiser’s first serious work, already here he shows the class inequality in American society, as well as the desire of people to gain wealth, fame and security in life with a flick of the finger.

Yes, the American dream is beautiful, colorful and so attractive, but we must admit that it is far from being for everyone. If a person is honest, acts in most cases in good conscience, then he will not be able to succeed here because of the great competition and dirty tricks.

Here is our Kerry, still such a naive and inexperienced young girl, once in a big city, gets lost, and becomes a concubine of a wealthier man. She does not want to work hard to earn a living and be financially independent – she wants to quickly get a position and, as she believes, the privileges that are due to her. Hence the corresponding behavior.

Sister Carrie (1952)Photo:

Despite the relationship that has begun, Kerry looks to other men and finds a more attractive target for herself. While she still does not know about his marriage, however, she is not strongly opposed after the truth has been revealed.

However, luck still smiles at her, and she gets what she wanted. However, it is unlikely that she became easier after gaining what she wanted.

Here is the main meaning of the novel – the desired does not always give the desired mood and quality of life. Kerry got everything she wanted, but was left alone and too familiar with human nature. Perhaps she would be happier if she lived life in her provincial town.

This concludes our analysis. If you have any questions or suggestions, be sure to write in the comments. And we have prepared other reviews for you. Here they are:

The modern classic “Fox Hole”: the meaning of Nora Sakavich’s book

“Anxious people” according to Buckman: a guide on how to remain human in any situation

Analysis of the meaning of the book “The Delightful Witch”: pride, prejudice and intrigue worthy of the “Magnificent Age”

The meaning of the book “The Second Life of Uwe” by Frederick Backman: there is life after 59 years!

And that’s all we have for sure. See you soon on the pages of new articles and a peaceful sky over your head.

Add a comment