Sister Carrie Questions and Answers
by Theodore Dreiser

Sister Carrie book cover
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How do you analyze this quote from Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser from a feminist perspective? "Her maidenly reserve, and a certain sense of what was conventional under the circumstances, called her to forestall and deny this familiarity, but the daring and magnetism of the individual, born of past experience and triumphs, prevailed. She answered. He leaned forward to put his elbows upon the back of her seat and proceeded to make himself volubly agreeable."

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The significance of the quote from a feminist perspective is that Carrie has little chance of standing up the Drouet’s charms, because she is just a poor country girl and he is a city man.

Carrie has left home, hoping to strike out on her own.

She was eighteen years or age, bright, timid, and full of the illusions of ignorance and youth. (ch 1, p. 2)

At this point, Carrie finally acknowledges the man sitting behind her.  She has been aware of him for some time.  She is traveling alone to the city, trying to get away from being a country girl.  However, as a country girl she has little experience.

Carrie is aware that this man is interested in her, and “with natural intuition she felt a certain interest growing in that quarter” (p. 3).  Yet she is powerless to react appropriately.  As a country girl, she has not been raised to be as independent as she would like.  She’s not worldly.  She does not know how to avoid his attentions, because she does not know what trouble he can get her into.  She just answers him honestly.

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