Posted at 12.17.2018
Urban society imposes on the individuals from Sister Carrie a pressure to which many of them succumb. The metropolitan landscapes provide as setting for the storyplot, feature of naturalism. In such a setting, the characters are compared to elements of the ocean, because they are insignificant in the huge sea, exactly like little "wisps". This sea provides not only as an image for crowds of people, but for causes more robust than man, in this case capitalism. It is inevitable and everything the lives of the characters change either the attainment of money or the deliberate showing off of it. Feelings and thoughts drop in importance set alongside the tide of uncontrolled capitalism and there's always another opportunity in the sea of individuals. Carrie complements the tide through several relationships, none long-lasting, each of them changing. As though contrary to her will, but if the sea image sometimes appears as the "tide of capitalism" then it is clear that Carrie is simply following the pledge of material comfort rather than love. Although the top occasions of the book appear to parallel those of several an account of interest, love as it is performs no genuine role in Carrie's life. Sister Carrie depicts an elaborate story about survival and lack of experience "giving up of one's mind to the powerful sea of capitalist causes and selfish needs". ( Smith, web)
As an example of naturalism, special and extensive attention is distributed by Dreiser to sea and water imagery. Here, the sea stand for the sea of folks that gather along in cities, this can be an enormous place where one can get lost or become drowned very easily. The sea is shelter for many types of seafood and few battle to shine and not mingle with those that are swept by the current. In the sea, however, there is merely the great work to stay floating and not get lost.
When Carrie is swept to "the sea of humanity in the city"( Smith, 2010: web), she actually is lost and disserted. Even if she has optimistic thoughts about her future, she tends to compare herself with the other "fish" and realizes that what she's gathered as experience at home will not apply in the city. Home in Wisconsin she was a person, but here she actually is one of the many that struggle in culture. This thought is portrayed in a quotation, "Men and women hurried by in long, moving lines. She sensed the movement of the tide of work and interest-felt her own helplessness without quite knowing the wisp on the tide she was" (18). It is given that she realizes that she belongs to the sea which she is bound to find her place in it. The quick movement of people does not permit rationality and publicity of feelings. It really is place characterized by superficiality and Carrie soon acknowledges her insignificance within it. ( Smith, 2010: web)
Carrie's put in place the metropolitan sea is slowly but surely modified with the added capital. Drouet helps her distinct from all of those other crowd and when encountering the girls from her ex - workplace "Carrie felt as if some great tide possessed rolled between them" (59). Drouet's charm proves frustrating and Carrie soon yields to his seduction. However Dreiser does not render Carrie's seduction straight; instead he abruptly shifts focus on Minnie, who's sleeping at home thinking of Carrie and herself in a series of crisis. In the dream the two women end up "by peculiar waters", standing on "something that reached very good out"( 61) Minnie's wish paints the curious change Carrie's life acquired taken once receiving Drouet's offer. Eventhough in the beginning she felt swept by the ocean she found her way to the top. This is merely the consequence of what Hurstwood seen as being a strong point in Carrie: "She possessed an innate taste for imitation and no small potential" (112). She has a odd adaptability to the ways of the town and sometimes she pretends to take action in order to fit the habits of the capitalist society. (Smith, 2010: web)
Dreiser fills with ironic fine detail chapters 14-15 when explaining Carrie as insecure and afloat. In the presence of Drouet, who once made her feel she got found a peaceful location in a "sea of trouble", Carrie seems "all at sea emotionally" (106) when talking about Hurstwood. It really is with further ironic twist, then, that Carrie is shown putting on a sailor head wear when she meets her new lover in the playground. The imagery of sea carries on in the picture between Carrie and Hurstwood. Hurtwood desires to "plunge in" and expostulate with Carrie, but locates himself "fishing for words. " For Carrie the "floodgates" are open, and she discovers herself "still illogically drifting and finding nothing at all of which to catch", "driftingon a borderless sea of speculation. "(114-115) Hurstwwood beats on against the existing of Carrie's indecision. The imagery shows Drouet's intention showing the type of man's lifetime in an environment of flux and irresistible change. Man is dominated and controlled by the makes of character. At those occasions when he most needs it, his reason abandons him. (Balling, 1967: 50)
Besides Carrie, Hurstwood also acknowledges that the surroundings has formed him too. Shortly after he leaves his home town to get started on "downstream" with Carrie we receive the author's judgment regarding his decision: "Whatever a man like Hurstwood have been in Chicago, it's very evident that he'd be but an inconspicuous drop in an ocean like New York. In Chicago, whose inhabitants still ranged about 500, 000, millionaires weren't numerous" (214). "The sea was already full of whales. A typical seafood must needs fade away from view-remain unseen. In other words Hurstwood was little or nothing. " This remarks foreshadow the entire struggle Hurstwood gives as soon as he leaves the known waters of Chicago.
Perhaps the sole time one manages to assert his personality is when he attains capital and the ability to control the surroundings where he lives. From the moment Carrie gets money she acknowledges that this is the only way she may survive. Economic stability is what she longs which brings with it cultural security. "Within the view of a certain stratum of society, Carrie was perfectly established-in the sight of any starveling, beaten by every wind flow and gusty sheet of rainfall she was safe in a halcyon harbor" (69). Dreiser uses the sea imagery throughout the complete story showing Carrie's long term drift. She finally has left the unsteady seas with "wind and gusty sheet[s] of rainfall" reach the coastline and a "halcyon harbor" ( 69) emphasizing the fact that with suitable means you can overcome the ocean. ( Smith, web)
Dreiser pulls his imagery within the next chapters from savage nature. The vision of doom sees expression in images of stormy weather and "blackening thunderclouds" pouring forth " a rainfall of wrath. " Inside the tempest of his wife's savage jealousy, Hurstwood is "like a vessel, powerful and dangerous, but rolling and floundering without sail. " Similarly, in the onslaught of Drouet's discovery about her and Hurstwood and her own discovery about Hurswood's matrimony, Carrie is shaken loose from her day of reasoning" and becomes " an anchorless, storm-beaten little build which could do absolutely nothing but drift. " Through such imagery Dreiser demonstrates his "naturalistic" idea, showing his opinion that man is only an thing battered about the dark makes of the natural world. The ship, a typical image of man's momentary but heroic triumph over aspect is cast adrift and battered about mercilessly. (Balling, 1976: 52)
Dreiser opens section 29 "the Solace of travel: The motorboats of the Sea" with a debate of travel. For the untraveled, new places are exciting. Travel "solaces and delights". New things and places to see are so amazing that they cannot be neglected, and your brain, which is a mere representation of sensory impressions, succumbs to the overflow of objects. " One forgets fans, puts apart sorrow, and suspends impending problems. Thus Carrie is fascinated with her accessibility into New York with its boats and highways, and especially the East River, "the first indication of the fantastic sea. " (Balling, 1963: 59)
In Dreiser's world view such a major change in conditions is area of the extraordinary flux of life. At one moment in time Carrie drifts along on tempestuous sea; another moment she detects herself on the crest of any wave driving toward success. Looking over her shoulder, she views Hurstwood slipping under the stormy surface.
In the urban landscape the ocean of people seems interminable. Some people are desperately striving to stay afloat but others dare to hope for more and even imagine reaching the " halcyon harbor" -the promise of wealth and satisfaction. In Dreiser's world the paradigm "survival of the fittest" is illustrative to the specific trait that lots of "fish" lack: adaptability. This is what pushes Carrie to the pinnacle of success and what pulls Hurstwood back to the deep waters of mankind.
The world that Dreiser portrays is a ceaseless flux, a liquid, wide-open universe in xhich people are constantly increasing and dropping - quality which he looks for to suggest by the cluster of normal water images he uses in the novel, his countless description of Carrie " drifting with the tide" his summation of Hurstwood in NY as " an inconspicuous drop in the ocean", and his various evaluations of the city to the ocean. In such a world the sole reality is activity, really the only good is upward movement, the sole objects well worth having are those you can not find the money for. (Lynn, 1991: 503)