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Sister Carrie

Sister Carrie

by Theodore Dreiser

Isolation/Loneliness Quotes Page 1

How we cite our quotes:

Quote #1

[Carrie] was sad beyond measure, and yet uncertain, wishing, fancying. Finally, it seemed as if all her state was one of loneliness and forsakenness, and she could scarce refrain from trembling at the lip. She hummed and hummed as the moments went by, sitting in the shadow by the window, and was therein as happy, though she did not perceive it, as she ever would be. (12.35)

Wait, she's desperately lonely and yet she's "as happy […] as she would ever be." What is that supposed to mean?

Quote #2

[Hurstwood] was striking a chord now which found sympathetic response in [Carrie's] own situation. She knew what it was to meet with people who were indifferent, to walk alone amid so many who cared absolutely nothing about you. Had not she? Was not she at this very moment quite alone? Who was there among all whom she knew to whom she could appeal for sympathy? Not one. (13.48)

Loneliness is often regarded as a bad thing, a feeling to be avoided at all costs. But this passage suggests it can also make a person more sympathetic and understanding. Perhaps there is some value to be found in so-called negative emotions, after all.

Quote #3

[Hurstwood] did not even detect the shade of melancholy which settled in [Carrie's] eyes. Worst of all, she now began to feel the loneliness of the flat and seek the company of Mrs. Vance, who liked her exceedingly. (31.45)

Why doesn't Carrie just tell Hurstwood already that she feels lonely? Is she waiting for him to pick up on some subtle eye flicker? Then again, why doesn't he ever sense how she's feeling? Why is this all so hard, guys?

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