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Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser Paper

Edward Said has suggested that exile causes both an “unhealable rift” and an “enriching experience”. Although, his ideas serve as a contradiction to each other, many works of literature prove that these statements go hand in hand with each other. In the novel Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser, the character George Hurstwood is cut off from home by his own free will when he decides to runaway with Caroline Meeber and starts a new life in New York. Through his separation from home, George is forced to reexamine his life without money and must confront the possibility that the man he once was in Chicago can never achieve the same success.

At the start of the novel, George is presented as a clever, hardworking man whose embodies how perseverance and strength can create a successful and lavish lifestyle. As the manager of the popular bar, Fitzgerald and Moy’s, George is a well-liked man in Chicago and is immediately struck by Carrie’s presence. Due to his success and determination, he was part of an eminent group and fawned over by many. In his higher-class society, they all valued the same thing: money, power, and success and based their lives around finding new ways to obtain this. As his affair with Carrie is finally brought to light, his impending divorce leaves him with the fear of an unknown future ultimately leads to poor decisions. Frightened by this, he steals money from his job and tricks Carrie into leaving the country with him. The presence of an honest, hardworking man George once was, is destroyed by his few poor choices. The values he once had in Chicago became broken dreams when he decided to leave.

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George’s distance from Chicago quickly causes his later downfall in life. Once out of a Chicago, a private investigator convinces him to return most of the money, but he realizes he cannot return home. This action earns him back his honesty and takes away his guilty conscience even though his decision to return th…

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