Study Guide

Sister Carrie Chapter 20

By Theodore Dreiser

Chapter 20

The Lure of the Spirit: The Flesh in Pursuit

  • Hurstwood goes home and ponders the problem of getting Carrie away from Drouet.
  • The next morning at breakfast, Hurstwood and his wife argue heatedly over when they're going to go on vacation. He doesn't want to go as soon as she does, so she's like cool—the kids and I will go without you. Hurstwood's not happy about that.
  • Mrs. H hasn't had much luck landing Jessica a husband at the races, so she wants to go on vacation in search of better matrimonial prospects.
  • Hurstwood goes off to meet Carrie.
  • Back at Carrie's and Drouet's apartment, Drouet tells Carrie that he's ready to get hitched. She says she doesn't believe him.
  • Drouet leaves and then Carrie leaves to meet Hurstwood. Drouet returns to the apartment to get some bills he forgot and asks the maid if Carrie went out. She says yes, and they strike up a conversation (remember that this is the maid who's hot for Drouet). They both get flirty.
  • Then the maid spills the beans. She tells Drouet just how often Hurstwood stopped by to see Carrie when he was out of town: like, every day.
  • Drouet is suddenly not in the mood to flirt with the maid.
  • The maid is called away and Drouet finally seems to have caught on to what Hurstwood and Carrie have been up to.
  • Drouet gets ready to leave, and on his way out he runs into the maid again. He seizes the opportunity to grill her a little more about Carrie and Hurstwood—she gladly obliges—and Drouet resolves to confront Carrie.
  • Yikes.