Chapters 4-5 Summary

Carrie thinks of all the things she can buy and do with her prospective wages. At dinner that evening, she describes all the places she saw while job hunting. As she and Minnie clean up, Carrie proposes going to the theater. When Minnie hesitates, Carrie offers to pay. Hanson disapproves of the idea. Afterward, as Carrie is downstairs looking out at the sights on the street below, Hanson worries that already she is wasting her money. Carrie can now see that her sister’s home will be narrow and confining in more ways than one. Over the weekend, she wanders the streets alone, enjoying the sights and her own independence.

On Monday morning, Carrie nervously gets ready for work. On her arrival, she is shown to her work place; she is to punch holes in shoe uppers. After a quick lesson, Carrie begins her workday. Although it is not physically demanding, it is tedious with its endless repetition. She tries hard not to slow down the work line, but she sometimes has trouble fastening the leather upper to the machine to punch it properly. The other girls sympathetically slow down a little so the work does not pile up. Carrie’s back and wrists ache with the constant work. At lunch, she distances herself from the others, finding them crude and low-class. She resists the attempts at flirtation from some of the male workers. At the end of the day, Carrie returns home, body aching from the unaccustomed labor.

Carrie wonders if Drouet will come to call that evening, but when he received her letter, Drouet dismissed Carrie Meeber from his mind. He has several places around town that he enjoys, most especially Fitzgerald and Moy’s, a saloon for the upper class of Chicago. The manager there is an especial friend of his, Mr. G. W. Hurstwood. On Monday evening, Drouet goes to Fitzgerald and Moy’s and is greeted by Hurstwood. The two men discuss common acquaintances and their fates. Hurstwood genuinely likes Drouet, even though he is only a traveling salesman. Drouet explains that he is going out of town again that Wednesday for a period of six weeks. Hurstwood points out a customer, Jules Wallace, who is a spiritualist. The two discuss the validity of such a belief, and they both dismiss it. Drouet explains that he is on his way to the theater. Hurstwood tells him to come back afterward because he has something he wants to show him. Drouet agrees and mentions meeting Carrie Meeber on the train; he says he needs to see her before he leaves.