Study Guide

Sister Carrie Chapter 35

By Theodore Dreiser

Chapter 35

The Passing of Effort: The Visage of Care

  • Hurstwood decides to apply for a salesman position at a whiskey company, but his attitude puts off his potential employer (he can tell this job is likely not Hurstwood's first choice or even fifth choice). He almost applies for another job in a furniture company, but decides against it.
  • After stopping for lunch at a restaurant, he thinks about where he's going to try to find work next. He goes into another hotel lobby and sits by the window and watches street life—seeing all the displays of wealth is really a downer right about now.
  • When he gets back to the apartment, Hurstwood paints a rosy picture for Carrie of his job prospects, hinting that he's likely going to get the job at the liquor company. Then he plops down in the rocker and reads the paper (déjà vu).
  • The next day Hurstwood can't think of anywhere else to apply for a job even though he feels like he should go out and look. Carrie reminds him that he needs to give her money for their weekly expenses (twelve bucks—practically a fortune); annoyed, he forks it over.
  • Hurstwood leaves and heads for the hotel lobby. He gets a shave at their barbershop, then turns around and goes right back home, depressed and disgusted. This goes on for several days until a winter storm descends and Hurstwood isn't able to go out for the next three days. He settles in to rock it out in the rocker and read the paper—Carrie's not too pleased that he seems so comfortable loafing around.
  • When the storm clears, Hurstwood heads downtown, intending to check out a business opportunity advertised in the paper, but then he thinks it'll probably be useless so he goes to his favorite haunt, the hotel lobby. While he's in the lobby, an acquaintance of his from back in Chicago, Mr. Cargill, spots him. They make small talk, but it's really awkward.
  • Hurstwood leaves the hotel and wanders around, trying to think of someplace to go. He finally goes home—it's only 2:45 and Carrie's there. Ugh.
  • He comes down with a cold that night and stays in bed for the next few days. Carrie is none too thrilled about playing the role of his nursemaid. After he recovers, Hurstwood tries to look for work a few more times, but then pretty much decides to give up for the rest of the winter.
  • With all his hanging around the apartment, he begins to notice that Carrie isn't the greatest with money, so he gets an idea: he'll take over the shopping. But this means that he stops giving her money, which makes her utterly miserable.
  • Plus, to save money Hurstwood stops getting shaves, which is a real turn-off for Carrie. And she's fed up that he's not even trying to look for a job anymore. Carrie starts sleeping in a separate room.