An Analysis on Carrie’s Ethical Choices in Sister Carrie

Pei Qiong, Hang Yue


Sister Carrie is the masterpiece of Theodore Dreiser, an American realist writer. The novel is set in the big cities of Chicago and New York at the turn of 20th century. At that time, Consumer Culture prevailed and money defined interpersonal relationship in the United States. This paper made an in-depth analysis of Carrie’s ethical choices from the perspective of Nie Zhenzhao’s Ethical Literary Criticism. Ethical Literary Criticism emphasizes that a novel should not be isolated from its ethical environment. Therefore, this paper focuses on the ethical environment at that time, Carrie’s moral confusion and and the ethical choices she makes. Meanwhile, it is summarized that Carrie is not a simply moral degenerate, but a new citizen who is deeply affected by social transformation with a new ethical tendency, which represents Dreiser’s ethical value.

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