Study Guide

Sister Carrie Chapter 28

By Theodore Dreiser

Chapter 28

A Pilgrim, an Outlaw: The Spirit Detained

  • Carrie pumps Hurstwood for details about Drouet's accident as they're in the cab, but he's pretty vague on these given that he made the story up. He tells her they're headed to the South Side and will have to take the train to get there.
  • They get to the train station and Hurstwood leaves Carrie in the waiting room while he goes and buys two tickets to Detroit.
  • They board the train and settle in. Hurstwood, who's growing more sober by the minute, thinks about what a drunken idiot he was to take the money. For her part, Carrie thinks about how long this trip is taking. She grows more suspicious, and finally comes out and asks Hurstwood if they're really going to see Drouet. He confesses that he lied about Drouet to get her on the train and tells her that he's taking her to a different city.
  • Carrie freaks out and tells him she wants to get off the train immediately. She tries to get up, but he gently pushes her down; she's sobbing as he tries to tell her what's going on. She won't listen and threatens to tell the conductor. Hurstwood tells her she can get off at the next station if she wants, but to please listen to what he has to say first.
  • Hurstwood tells her that it's over with his wife and that's why he came to get her. She's still steaming mad that he lied to her about Drouet being hurt and everything else though, so she gets up and moves to another seat. He follows.
  • He's getting a divorce, he tells her. Plus, he loves her. Carrie softens, suddenly feeling flattered that he's doing all of this out of love for her. He tells her he wants to go to Montreal and after that they can go to NYC if she wants to; if she doesn't like it, she can go back.
  • Carrie's intrigued by the prospect of checking out some cool new cities, but she's still pretty mad and tells Hurstwood not to talk to her.
  • Hurstwood pleads with her to stay with him. She's not sure. He tries to charm her by offering to get her a sleeping car, and when she declines he lets her rest her head on his balled up coat. What a guy. She admits to herself that he is thoughtful.
  • Hurstwood again thinks about how taking the money was a colossal mistake. He wishes he could give it all back and be forgiven, and worries that the police have begun looking for him.
  • Next stop: Detroit. Hurstwood and Carrie get off, and he tells her they should get another train for Montreal so he buys the tickets. Carrie realizes she doesn't have so much as a toothbrush with her and gets depressed, but Hurstwood assures her he'll buy her whatever she wants once they get to Canada.
  • They get on the train, Montreal-bound.