Theodore Dreiser Essay

1478 words - 6 pages

Throughout history there has been many great authors that have created even greater works, and some people refer to these as classics. However, what truly makes an authors’ work a classic? “The idea of a classic implies something that has continuance and consistence, and which produces unity and tradition, and transmits itself, and endures.” “A true classic, is an author who has expressed his thought, and who has spoken to all in his own peculiar style” (Hutchins). Theodore Dreiser is the epitome of this very definition. Dreiser drew upon his upbringing, life experiences, and the situations of his family members and transformed these collective experiences into his very first novel, ...view middle of the document...

The theme of fate plays an overwhelming role in the novel “Sister Carrie”. Much like many of his other themes and symbols, this one also came as a result of his experiences, most notably his childhood. Before he was born, his father owned a mill that eventually burned down. This event caused him to turn into a cynical, bitter man who abused and tortured his family mentally. This led to Dreiser coming to the conclusion that “man is a pawn in the hands of a blind or malevolent fate” (Warren 11). This idea of fate can be further explained as Dreiser accepting that no one can change the future and whatever is meant to happen to them will happen, whether it be good or bad. This quote shows him coming to grips with the idea of human suffering, which he later in life proves to be true in his quest for achievement in the big industrial cities. Blind fate exists heavily in the “Sister Carrie” and can be a positive or negative thing. For example, the main character Carrie becomes an immensely successful person while trying simply because of fate (where she and others happen to be at certain times). Another example is George Hurstwood who cheated on his wife and subsequently abandoning her by having an affair with Carrie (Dreiser). Blind fate plays its hand here by eventually leading to Hurstwood’s suicide after being abandoned by Carrie, much like he abandoned his wife and child. This is an example of blind fate simply because it was by chance that he met Carrie and ultimately because of that same chance that his life prematurely ended.
Dreiser is most notably seen as someone who exhibits Naturalistic tendencies in his writings. “Sister Carrie” is very similar to other American novels before it simply for the fact that it tells a story of someone poor becoming rich in American. However, the way the story is told is completely different and unique. Dreiser draws upon his experiences in trying to make it big in cities like Chicago and New York. He lived a less than glamorous life. He suffered from poverty, an abusive father, and a lack of experiences which prohibited him from landing any decent jobs. However, his experiences led to an incredible manifestation in his novels. In “Sister Carrie” the main character Carrie moves to Chicago where she is only able to work in menial, low-waged jobs in the same way that Dreiser started out. His experiences, in some form, all manifest into his writings and as such, the reader is better able to align with the characters and understand the story because they are reading it from someone who truly experienced these things: someone who truly knows how horrible this way of life is, who knows how hard anyone would try to get out of poverty and who knows the struggle towards achievement and self-actualization. Because of this, he is able to covey his feelings to the reader better and as such many people believe that this work actually transcends the boundary of Naturalism and takes on a whole new genre. ...

Find Another Essay On Theodore Dreiser

Untitled Essay

1560 words - 6 pages Theodore Dreiser The American Dream Courtney Connors English III CP Mr. Breslin Through the social criticism of Theodore Dreiser, the plight of the poor is compared against the actions of the rich. In both An American Tragedy and Sister Carrie Dreiser presents characters who are driven "by ignorance and in ability to withstand the pressures of the shallow American yearning for money, success, fashion -- dreams about which Dreiser himself

Sister Carrie Essay

865 words - 3 pages The Effects of Society on Carrie Meeber In Theodore Dreiser's Sister Carrie, Carrie Meeber is depicted as a poor helpless young woman living in a predominately male society. Dreiser reveals Carrie as a "bright, timid girl full of the illusions of ignorance and youth" (Dreiser 1). She wants pleasure and social position and yet she is confused as to what these things might be. Carrie believes the city will bring promise of a better life

Sister Carrie

511 words - 2 pages The author, Theodore Dreiser, presents his theme through the symbolic detail throughout the story. In this way the symbolic level of the narrative is laid directly over the events and circumstance of the simple story itself. The theme in way is hard to explain through this story because as I mentioned before the theme is presented throughout symbolism, which becomes very difficult to explain as the story goes on.The original title of Sister

"An American Tragedy" Book I by Theodore Draiser

506 words - 2 pages his best to make his dreams come true.Bibliography:"Theodore Dreiser." Microsoft® Student 2009 [DVD]. Redmond, WA: Microsoft Corporation, 2008.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theodore_DreiserAn American Tragedy by Theodore Dreiser Foreign Languages Publishing House Moscow 1949

Identity in Theodore Dreiser’s Sister Carrie

1181 words - 5 pages Identity in Theodore Dreiser?s Sister Carrie is noticeably related to the deceptive world of performance. The characters? sense of self seems to be based exclusively on the money and other commodities he or she possesses; it is also portrayed to be constantly enacted as a theatrical role. Social identities are no more real than acted roles on stage, since they are all performed. Dreiser structurally contrast the rising and falling; success and

Characterization in Sister Carrie

1577 words - 6 pages Characterization in Sister Carrie      The theme of unrequited love and unfulfilled ambitions, against a backdrop of a nation being transformed by industrialism and capitalism, provides the substance of Theodore Dreiser's Sister Carrie.  During the late 19th Century we encounter three main characters who demonstrate this underlying motif:  Carrie Meeber, Charles H. Drouet, and George W. Hurstwood.  Carrie will fulfill many of her desires

An American Tragedy

1983 words - 8 pages ;TRAGIC AMERICA, 1931·DAWN, 1931·LIVING THOUGHTS OF THOREAU, 1939·AMERICA IS WORTH SAVING, 1941·THE BULWARK, 1946·THE STOIC, 1947·THE BEST SHORT STORIES, 1947·LETTERS OF THEODORE DREISER, 1959·NOTES ON LIFE, 1974·AN AMATEUR LABORER, 1983·DREISER'S RUSSIAN DIARY, 1996CharactersClyde Griffiths- He is the main character of the novel, his only goal in life is the American Dream. He

Theodore Dreiser’s “Butcher Rogaum’s Door”

1227 words - 5 pages house. In this story, Theodore Dreiser explores themes of human sexuality, rebellion against repressive parents, and the relationship between and different mentalities of immigrant parents and their American-born children. The story “Butcher Rogaum’s Door” contains many parallels to Dreiser whose own father was a strict and deeply religious German immigrant and whose mother was a descendent of Czechoslovakian immigrants. “Butcher Rogaum’s Door,” is

Visions And Versions

2504 words - 10 pages become legendary says Michael Meyer, the editor for the book "The Compact Bedford Introduction to Literature." Anderson without warning walked out of his work and wandered the streets for four days before ending up in a hospital. Michael Meyer also mentions that Anderson began to realize that he must devote his life to writing. Anderson broke from his wife and family and joined Carl Sandburg and Theodore Dreiser, who were at the core of Chicago's

Huckleberry Finn, Daisy Miller and Sister Carrie as Heroes

2521 words - 10 pages any man she could pick up, sitting in corners with mysterious Italians? (94). But, then again, this passage proves that Daisy does not give in to society?s standards. She does ?everything that is not done.? At the closing of Sister Carrie, written by Theodore Dreiser, Carrie, the final heroine, fittingly sits perched in a rocking chair dressed beautifully, dreaming of happiness but discontent with her present life. She dreams because, like

Ernest Hemingway's Lost Generation

825 words - 3 pages consciousness narrative technique (Phillips 213).   Meanwhile, Prohibition ushered and age of the bootlegger, the speakeasy, cocktail, and the flapper. F. Scott Fitzgerald made the era a vivid chapter in American History by recording the 1920's, disillusionment, with his novels Main Street and Babbitt (Anderson 522). Capturing disillusion with a realistic novel, Theodore Dreiser produced a literary landmark with his An American Tragedy

Similar Essays

The Protagonist In Sister Carrie By Theodore Dreiser

1631 words - 7 pages to the static life of her “rocking chair by [the] window,” where “dreaming shall you long, alone. In your rocking chair, by your window shall you dream such happiness as you shall never feel” (p400). Works Cited Dreiser, Theodore, and E. L. Sister Carrie. Bantam Classics, 1982. Print.

The Distinction Of Social Classes In Sister Carrie By Theodore Dreiser

1926 words - 8 pages By the later part of the 1800’s New York and Chicago were some of the largest cities in the world and both had populations that exceeded a million. With the growing population, the economy’s stability began to fluctuate. The instability within the states gave rise to two distinct populations within America, the upper and the working classes. Theodore Dreiser, knowing the volatile state America was built upon, highlighted the economic differences

Theodore Dresier Essay

1701 words - 7 pages The Naturalist known as Theodore Dreiser Throughout history there has been many great authors that have created even greater works, and some people refer to these as classics. However, what truly makes an authors’ work a classic? “The idea of a classic implies something that has continuance and consistence, and which produces unity and tradition, and transmits itself, and endures.” “A true classic, is an author who has expressed his thought

An American Tragedy By Theordore Dreiser: Reality And Fiction Cause The Demise Of The American Dream

2808 words - 11 pages Throughout literary history, authors have changed, but they all have drawn ideas for their prose from their own life experiences. Such is the case with Theodore Dreiser. Dreiser uses events from his life and from a 1906 murder trial when he wrote his novel, An American Tragedy. This novel combines the elements of reality and fiction. Within the novel, these elements combine to create the downfall of the American Dream.Clyde Griffiths, the