Theodore Dreiser is one of the most controversial figures in American literary history. Sister Carrie, Dreiser ‘s first novel, and one of his earliest plant of fiction, is universally recognized as a major American novel. Dreiser ‘s contention with Doubleday, Page and Company over the publication of Sister Carrie is one of the most frequent celebrated events in American literary history and the topic that spurred into a deeper research of the job.
Bing written under the force per unit area of his friend Arthur Henry, Sister Carrie was to go a symbol of a new epoch in composing fiction. In a society marked by disagreement between world and visual aspect Dreiser ‘s narrative depicts the cruel oppressing effects of such an environment on the characters. The present thesis entitled American Life in the Twentieth Century: Theodore Dreiser ‘s Sister Carrie comes to reenforce the belief that this novel is the nucleus contemplation of American background.
The purpose of this thesis is to supply an drawn-out analysis on several features of modern American life as mirrored by Sister Carrie. Eventhough the chapters developed in this paper seem varied with seemingly no connexion between them they have as a bond the realistic motion behind the authorship of Sister Carrie.
Therefore the sheepskin paper is divided in five chapters, each one holding one or more extensions of the chief subject. The first chapter introduces the issue of the controversial publication of the book and its response by the reading populace. It chiefly follows the history of the publication of Sister Carrie seeking to uncover the motivations of its suppression and those peculiar facets that shocked the populace. Here a aggregation of letters constitutes a documental description of the publication of Sister Carrie edited by the critic Donald Pizer.
The 2nd chapter ( Literary Motions in Sister Carrie ) as hinted by the rubric, has as purpose of bordering the novel into a literary motion. Sister Carrie is considered as the masterwork of Theodore Dreiser ‘s composing endowment in naturalist manner but as argued by assorted critics Sister Carrie is either classed as a work of pure naturalism, or as a mixture of realistic and realistic elements. Consequently this chapter comprises a more theoretical first subchapter and presents the birth of naturalism from pragmatism following the inventions it brings. Furthermore, a subchapter is dedicated to Dreiser ‘s general authorship inclination and doctrine. At this point Dreiser passes through assorted phases of influence, from the theory of development to the decision that life is the consequence of mechanism beyond determinism and “ chemisms. ” Though he merely mentions the advanced thoughts of Spencer, Dreiser does non give to use several theories such as Darwin ‘s “ endurance of the fittest ” or Zola ‘s “ pseudo-scientific rules. ” Furthermore, sketching these theories, the 3rd and the 4th subchapters ( Sister Carrie between Realism and Naturalism and Naturalistic Elementss in Sister Carrie ) show the creative activity of Dreiser both at the barrier between pragmatism and naturalism and highlight the rigorous realistic facets reflected in the work. At the same clip the survey, through the angle of naturalism in American literature describes how environmental characteristics and heredity factors control the supporter ‘s fate.
Further on, the chapter Visions of America in Sister Carrie is based on the realistic images of America transposed by Dreiser in his work. The focal point is manfully on the worlds of the twenty-four hours such as capitalist economy, consumerism and work in general, so on the influence of the large metropoliss of New York and Chicago had on the characters. It is here that Thorstein Veblen ‘s form of “ conspicuous ingestion ” exactly fits the measure. An overview of what meant the American life in late 19th century towards early 20th century with particular involvement on the rough world of the clip. Sister Carrie portrays the monolithic industrialisation procedure, the in-migration, the Brooklyn streetcar work stoppage and the reversal of gender functions in a flourishing society, all of which are present in the revolutionized America.
The 3rd chapter ( entitled Symbols ) consists of assorted subchapters that focus on the intervention of symbolism. The 2nd subchapter is meant to demo the extent to which apparels provoke the inside and the societal rise of the person. An reading of money, mirrors, theaters, insides and homes, dreams and newspapers complete the series of objects discussed in the paper. Separate attending has been given to H2O imagination strongly connected with the failure and success that the characters experience. Each of these symbols seems to voice the hotheaded desires induced by society directing the person into the unreliable ways of the consumerism in America
Finally the position of adult females in late 19th century America and the chief character ‘s function in society was capable to reading and analysis. Representative of the “ New Woman ” Sister Carrie absolutely envisages the reversal of the state of affairs of the Victorian adult female, as she is non passed judgements by the storyteller for her seemingly immoral actions. Thus the chapter Sister Carrie, the Actress contours the chief character ‘s figure through her functions in the theater and through her success as an actress, in relation with the jungle-like environment in which she lives. Her success is guaranteed by the endowed gift of reproducing the world and her physical traits. Once once more Sister Carrie is driven by forces greater than her, reflecting the realistic form.
All these facets fomented the hunt and kindled a permanent involvement into detecting the cultural and societal footing on which Sister Carrie was constructed. Possibly many appealing facets may hold been left behind but the general inclination was to make continuity between issues that seem remote.
It must be added that the program conceived in the beginning was non followed exhaustively, as new thoughts came while reading critic and analyses on Sister Carrie. Despite the general position induced by the rubric, the paper did non accomplish an overview of all facets indicated by it. However it has been hard to keep my way in this paper and capable to analyses have been merely those facets that touched the realistic construct and were omitted those that even though would hold constituted strong chapters, seemed remote from the general inclination of the paper. The purpose was to compose an analysis of the fresh Sister Carrie uncovering new sides of the narrative itself and offer unexpected readings to subjects widely discussed. At the same clip the involvement was to demo readers that even though it was written over a century ago Sister Carrie is still by and large read by modern-day people and continually valued by critics in other new point of view and charged with new intensions. It came as a surprise to detect that Dreiser anticipated in Sister Carrie really much of what might be observed today, in a consumerism driven, ever-transforming society.