I love Drieser! I don’t think there are enough questions about him here. It’s hard to condense the book into a paragraph, but I will do so here.
Carrie is a young, independent woman who goes to the city of Chicago around the turn of the century, trying to make it on her own. Life in the big city is not what she expected, and she rooms in a small important with a couple, and gets a factory job for next to nothing. Soon, she moves in with Drouet, a salesman she met on the train. That lasts only until Drouet introduces her to a richer man, Hurstwood, and they have an affair and Carrie threatens to expose him in order to blackmail him into secretly marrying her under the name of Wheeler. Neither of them are happy then, and Carrie leaves him to join the theater.