Study Guide

Sister Carrie Chapter 33

By Theodore Dreiser

Chapter 33

Without the Walled City: The Slope of the Years

  • Six months pass. Carrie never saw Ames again, but "she had an ideal to contrast men by—particularly men close to her" (33.2). Hurstwood's financial situation is okay, though not great (especially when he compares it to his old life of hobnobbing back in Chicago), and his diminished circumstances are taking a toll on his mood and he's becoming depressed.
  • Then business at the saloon dies down. He tells Carrie what's going on and she's not happy. Plus, she finds out that the Vances are taking a vacation—she thinks this is unfair, and she cries.
  • Hurstwood tells Carrie about more business troubles: His partner Shaughnessy (we now learn the cranky alcoholic's name) won't make any updates to the saloon, and Hurstwood thinks that without some sprucing up, the place will never be profitable. He tells her he's thinking about saving up and opening his own place, and suggests they move to a smaller apartment so they can save more money. She's not happy about the prospect of living in an even smaller apartment, but she agrees to do it.
  • They move to their new microscopic apartment, and soon after Hurstwood's business partner tells him that the guy who owns the property on which their business sits (they currently lease the lot from him) has sold it… which means they've gotta leave once their lease is up.
  • Hurstwood asks his partner if he thinks they should open up another place in the neighborhood, but his partner doesn't want to (and Hurstwood doesn't have enough money saved yet to open his own place). He realizes not only is he out of a job, he's going to lose the thousand bucks he invested in the place to begin with.
  • Hurstwood tries to look for another business opportunity, but doesn't have much luck. He tells Carrie what's going on, and she sees that he's broke.