Chapters 44-45 Summary
Carrie’s status in the theater troupe changes overnight. She is given a larger dressing room and the attitude of the other actors toward her becomes more polite and ingratiating. As she picks up her first hundred and fifty dollars’ pay, she thinks back to her time in the shoe factory, making four fifty a week. A representative from a new up-scale hotel offers her rooms at a bargain price of three dollars a day, compared to the normal one hundred dollars a week. She and Lola are overwhelmed by the luxury but move in at once. One day at the theater, Mrs. Vance arrives. She says no word about Carrie’s past poverty and asks no questions about Hurstwood. They arrange to dine together soon.
Carrie begins to receive love letters and proposals of marriage; each suitor claims to have at least a million dollars to keep her in comfort. Carrie rejects them, but Lola suggests that she meet some of them just for a good time. She also makes public appearances. However, she realizes that all this, with wealth and fame, is not enough to make her happy. She still feels lonely despite all the attention and activities. Lola points out that many would gladly change places with her, but Carrie soon begins to get bored with it all.
Hurstwood sits in a cheap hotel with only seventy dollars he got from the furniture from the flat. He sees Carrie’s pictures in the papers and on billboards. He moves to increasingly cheaper hotels and spends his days reading the newspapers and dreaming of his former life. He has difficulty differentiating between his dreams and his reality. He tries for a position at a hotel and begs for a job. He admits that he is a former manager fallen on hard times. He tells the manager that he managed for Fitzgerald and Moy’s in Chicago but does not say he stole from them. The manager, feeling sorry for him, gives him the lowest job he can find. Hurstwood sleeps in the attic and at least has something to eat. He becomes ill with pneumonia and is sent to the hospital, where he remains for several weeks.
He resorts to begging and then thinks of asking Carrie for money. He goes to the theater and waits for her, but she goes inside so fast that he misses her. He waits for a while but then wanders the streets. An ex-soldier who has devoted himself to finding beds for homeless men stands on a corner and calls out to passersby to donate a few cents. Sounding like an auctioneer, he gathers money for over a hundred men who gather around him, Hurstwood among them. As he sits on his cot that night, he realizes the desperate situation he is in.