Chapters 42-43 Summary

One evening during a performance, one of the lead actors ad libs a line to Carrie, who ad libs one of her own. This is a hit with the audience, and she is told to keep the line in. Hurstwood, in the meantime, no longer has work because only police are running the streetcars during the strike. He hides in the flat, refusing to answer the door when creditors come calling. Lola Osborne, Carrie’s friend in the chorus line, asks her to share an apartment. Carrie’s share would come only to three dollars a week. This appeals to her because it would leave her more money for clothes. She hesitates, though, and tells Lola that she does not really want to move at the moment.

Carrie is soon offered a larger speaking part, which will earn her thirty-five dollars a week. She thinks of the expenses she has to pay for the flat with Hurstwood and decides she will no longer pay it because she is hardly ever there. She frequently stays with one of the other girls. She tells Lola she has changed her mind and will move in with her. At home, Hurstwood suggests that they move into a smaller place. She resists this idea, knowing that she could never stand to be shut up in two rooms with him. She borrows money from Lola and goes back to the flat. When Hurstwood comes home, he finds an envelope with twenty dollars and a letter from Carrie telling him she is leaving. Hurstwood is overcome with the idea that she would actually abandon him.

Carrie wonders for a short time if Hurstwood will try to find her. After several days during which there is no sign of him, she ceases to worry. She becomes focused on getting more attention in the papers. She has received one short notice, and she is eager for more. She and Lola discuss staying in New York for the summer instead of going on the road. When her picture finally appears in the paper, Carrie goes downtown to get more taken. She and Lola look for new roles, and Carrie is given a nonspeaking part. After a performance, the manager tells her to frown throughout her scenes to give the play more humor. The principal actor is upset that attention is taken away from him, but Carrie becomes a star. Her salary is raised from thirty dollars a week to one hundred fifty dollars, and her contract is extended for twelve months. Hurstwood notices her in the paper as he sits in his poverty; he figures that she has finally hit it big.