This is classic Dreiser. I just read it for the second time, the first time was in 1975 for school. It's a much better read when there isn't a term paper required at the end! A bit slow and plodding but that goes well with Dreiser's books.
18/7 - I enjoyed this, but can't really say why. It was quite slow, certainly slower than my normal reading choices; there were no big events and no climatic ending; and none of the main characters were people I wanted to barrack for, for more than a few pages at a time. Carrie had her sympathetic moments, but there were times when I wanted to sit her down and explain the ways of the world or shake some sense into her. I was happy that Carrie finally managed to 'make it' on her own without the help of a man (what I imagine would have been a minor miracle in those days), and almost wanted to say to her "See, you can do it on your own. Drouet and Hurstwood were just dragging you down and holding you back." It was a blessing in disguise that neither of them actually married her.
If you read my reviews regularly you might have read my views on themes and messages within books - that they're not for me and tend to go straight over my head - I just don't see them, unless they're shoved down my throat (and books that do that are another story altogether). So, I don't really know what Dreiser might have been attempting to say with this book, but I did get a feeling of feminine empowerment from Carrie's ability to survive with or without the two men who came into her life. If that's not what Dreiser was trying to say then obviously I wasn't meant to understand it, but I still managed to find enough to interest me and keep me reading (which was a feat in and of itself as at 557 pages this is now the longest book I've read this year).
I first read this for an assignment for my senior English Lit. class over Christmas break in 1987. I chose the author and book from a class list of required reading. Its plot and imagery have stayed with me since then, and I wish to read it again with my middle-age perspective. It must have been a good book.
Great American Novel - and a protagonist who is not male.
wonderful descriptions and some very flawed characters. a very good read. the imagery of carrie in her rocking chair is still with me.
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