The Analysis of the Symbols of Theodore Dreiser’s Sister Carrie
Theodore Dreiser is one of the most influential American novelists during the first half of the 20th century. His first and one of the best novels is Sister Carrie. And this paper gives a brief analysis of an illustration of symbolism— one of Theodore Dreiser’s writing skills applied in it. The application of symbolism provides some suggestive effects to this novel, that is, it helps to establish the elements, reveal the reality and strengthen the theme.
Key words: Dreiser; Sister Carrie; symbolism
1. Brief Introduction to Theodore Dreiser
During the first half of the 20th century, there are many literary stars, such as Jack London, W. C. Faulkner, E.
M. Hemmingway and J. Steinback. Among these writers, Theodore Dreiser is one of the most influential novelists. Although he was not awarded with the Nobel Prize for literature, he is “deservedly regarded as a leading exponent of naturalism in American fiction”(Elliot, 1991: 1571), and a powerful writer who described the 20th century America vividly and realistically. With the publication of Sister Carrie in 1900, Dreiser became the first American author to step into the 20th century, rejecting the old Victorian morality for what was considered to be a shocking new form of descriptive realism.
Herman Theodore Dreiser was born in Terre Haute, Ind., on August 27, 1871. He was the ninth of the 10 children in his family. Dreiser’s childhood was spoiled by the failure of his successful father, John Paul, the manager of a cotton mill. A series of unfortunate happenings sent the family into poverty. In 1864, the mill caught fire, and during the mill’s rebuilding, a beam hit John Paul on the head, an injury from which he never fully recovered. After that, Dreiser’s father became extremely religious and was easily cheated by his business partners.
At the age of 15, Dreiser moved to Chicago where he found work at many low-paying and...