Study Guide

Sister Carrie Chapter 14

By Theodore Dreiser

Chapter 14

With Eyes and Not Seeing: One Influence Wanes

  • Carrie returns from her rendezvous with Hurstwood just as Mrs. Hale takes a peek out her window. A-ha—Drouet had better keep an eye on her, she thinks… and she's not the only one with suspicions. The maid who let Hurstwood in has figured out what's going on (which, incidentally, pleases her to no end since she's got a little thing for Drouet).
  • Carrie is so enamored of Hurstwood that she's now barely giving a second thought to Drouet. Hurstwood is similarly on Cloud Nine, hoping he can have his cake and eat it too, as he keeps up both his romance with Carrie and his home life.
  • Carrie and Hurstwood have a dinner date. Things don't get hot and heavy because Carrie is still pretending to be married to Drouet and Hurstwood is pretending to believe that she's married to Drouet.
  • Hurstwood asks her to go to the fair with him the following Tuesday but she declines, telling him it's too soon. However, they agree that they'll write to each other (as in letters—remember those?).
  • Drouet returns from his business trip and drops in to see Hurstwood at his office. They chitchat and Hurstwood mentions that he checked in on Carrie while Drouet was away. Hurstwood invites them both to go to a show.
  • Drouet returns to the apartment and kisses Carrie, who doesn't quite kiss back. So cold.
  • Drouet boasts about what a great job he did on his trip and how successful he's been as a salesman the past quarter and how he thinks he'll get a raise soon… and then they can get married.
  • Yeah, right, like that's ever going to happen, she tells him. He tries to reassure her, but it doesn't work. She doesn't think he's serious about marrying her, and Hurstwood, in contrast, seems to be dying to get her to the altar, she thinks.
  • Drouet mentions that he saw Hurstwood and that he's invited them to go to the theater. He also remarks that Hurstwood said that he'd stopped by while he was gone. Carrie almost blows her cover when she says that yes, he came by Sunday. Drouet says that's funny because he'd told him that he called a week ago. Oops.
  • Carrie nervously answers yes to Drouet's next question: "so he called twice?" But the naïve Drouet shrugs it off, figuring that he'd misunderstood Hurstwood.
  • Carrie soon gets a letter from Hurstwood who tells her they need to get their story straight about how many times they actually hung out while Drouet was away. He suggests they meet up before the theater outing with Drouet.
  • She writes back that Drouet doesn't seem suspicious, but that she feels guilty. When they meet, Hurstwood tries to allay her conscience by telling her that as soon as Drouet's gone, he'll fix everything. She takes this to mean that he's about to pop the question, of course.
  • Hurstwood and Carrie agree not to act flirtatious in front of Drouet anymore.
  • The curtain rises at the theater and Drouet, Hurstwood, and Carrie watch "The Covenant" (which is not a real play; this one was made up by Dreiser). And what a coincidence: there's a scene in the play in which a woman is having an affair.
  • After the play, Drouet remarks that he has no pity for the "chump" husband, who deserved to be cheated on for not being attentive enough to his wife. Isn't it ironic? Don't you think?
  • On their way out of the theater, a homeless man approaches the trio and asks for change. Drouet doesn't hesitate to give him a dime, but Hurstwood and Carrie are so busy making googly eyes at each other that they pay no attention to the man.