Chapters 32-33 Summary
As Carrie attends the play, she remembers her desire to go on the stage professionally. The lifestyle she sees portrayed on stage heightens her desire for the finer things, which she does not have with Hurstwood. She feels increasingly dissatisfied with her lot in life and becomes moody on her return home. When Hurstwood comes in, he senses her mood and asks her what the matter is. On learning that she had attended the matinee, he states that he planned on taking her that evening, if she wants to see it again. She says she does not, but during dinner she changes her mind.
About a month later, the Vances invite Carrie for a night out to the theater and dinner at Sherry’s, an upper-class restaurant in the heart of the city. She agrees because Hurstwood once again will not be home until late. Going along with the Vances is Bob Ames, a young man from Indiana who is in New York on business. The Vances are showing him around in the week that he is in the city. He strikes Carrie as very intelligent. As they ride down Fifth Avenue, Carrie is once again overwhelmed by the wealth on display. At Sherry’s she is impressed with the luxury of the table settings and the over-priced food on the menu. Mr. Vance is in his element, however, as is Mrs. Vance. Ames comments to Carrie that he could never be wealthy because he thinks paying this much money for food is ridiculous. This goes in variance with what Carrie had been thinking, but she listens to Ames; he strikes her as knowledgeable in a sincere way. He is not impressed with the life of the wealthy. Carrie has the feeling that, instead of being an out-of-town rube, he is in fact above such displays. She is disappointed to learn that he is not riding back with them after the show. When she returns home, she finds Hurstwood in bed. She sits in the dining room, completely dissatisfied with her life after meeting Ames.
Ames leaves New York without seeing Carrie again, and slowly her attraction to him fades away. Hurstwood, in the meantime, slides into gloom. His business is not bringing in the money he had hoped it would, and Carrie is demanding more money for clothing. Carrie is upset when the Vances announce that they are moving downtown. Hurstwood thinks about leaving Shaughnessy’s saloon and finding something else. He tells Carrie that, in order to raise the money for a new investment, they will move to a smaller flat and economize for a year. This strikes Carrie as moving toward poverty. This plan is thrown aside when Shaughnessy announces that the owner of the property has sold it and will not renew the lease. Hurstwood looks for another place but finds nothing.