Sister Carrie Morality and Ethics Quotes
How we cite our quotes:
Now, in regard to his pursuit of women, [Drouet] meant them no harm, because he did not conceive of the relation which he hoped to hold with them as being harmful. He loved to make advances to women, to have them succumb to his charms, not because he was a cold-blooded, dark, scheming villain, but because his inborn desire urged him to that as a chief delight. (7.4)
This suggests that desire and pleasure seeking can be the real motivations for committing acts that may be harmful, rather than "cold-blooded" impulses. No wonder harmful acts occur so frequently.
Habits are peculiar things […] the victim of habit, when he has neglected the thing which it was his custom to do, feels a little scratching in the brain, a little irritating something which comes of being out of the rut, and imagines it to be the prick of conscience, the still, small voice that is urging him ever to righteousness. (8.50)
So rather than being the product of some highly honorable or mysterious process, doing the right thing might all come down to already being in the habit of doing the right thing, like brushing your teeth or checking your text messages every five minutes.
In the light of the world's attitude toward woman and her duties, the nature of Carrie's mental state deserves consideration. Actions such as hers are measured by an arbitrary scale. Society possesses a conventional standard whereby it judges all things. All men should be good, all women virtuous. (10.1)
It's almost as if the narrator is giving us the rules of the game here before giving us a bunch of characters who proceed to break them.