This Dreiser faced challenges getting it published,

This lesson discusses Theodore Dreiser’s classic American naturalist novel, Sister Carrie, as well as the concept of conspicuous consumption. Get a summary and analysis of the novel, then test your knowledge with the quiz.

Little Fish, Meet Ocean

Have you ever seen one of the singing competition shows that have become so popular, be it American Idol or another incarnation? These shows typically have at least one contestant from small town America, sometimes from a farm, always eager to show their talents and move onto something big.

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That’s exactly how Caroline (Carrie) Meeber felt coming into Chicago on the train from her small farm town in Theodore Dreiser’s naturalist novel, Sister Carrie. The novel was considered groundbreaking at its inception, and even scandalous as it became well known. Dreiser faced challenges getting it published, with the subject matter considered racy for readers. Despite this initial struggle, Sister Carrie is considered Dreiser’s most prolific work.

The original cover of Sister Carrie
Theodore Dreiser

Lesson Summary

Theodore Dreiser’s Sister Carrie is one of the quintessential American novels, detailing a young girl’s quest to make herself into a star. She succeeds in her goals, but is never truly happy with her life.


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