Study Guide

Sister Carrie Chapter 37

By Theodore Dreiser

Chapter 37

The Spirit Awakens: New Search for the Gate

  • Hurstwood reveals to Carrie that he has a hundred bucks to his name. When he hints that his job prospects are really dim, she suggests that she might be able to find work as an actress. Hurstwood doesn't like this idea because he's afraid that she'll become successful and leave him, so he insults her by telling her she's not good enough to make it as an actress in New York.
  • She secretly resolves to try and become an actress.
  • After a short time, Hurstwood, realizing that starving to death doesn't sound like much fun, changes his tune and gets on board with the idea of Carrie getting work as an actress. He also has a bit of good news himself: he's got a job lined up at a hotel in the fall. They've just got to get through the summer (on fifty bucks).
  • Carrie sets off for Broadway… well, she sets off to try and find any part she possibly can on Broadway. She first gets a newspaper to find a theatrical agent, though, and takes it back to the apartment to comb through it. As she's reading, Hurstwood's interference gets on her nerves at first, but then he helps her pick out three agents to contact.
  • She leaves to find the agents. Hurstwood, feeling a bit ashamed as Carrie goes off to try to become breadwinner, takes a walk.
  • Carrie goes to Mrs. Bermudez's office first. The place is kind of creepy and Mrs. B isn't impressed with Carrie's short acting resume, but she takes down her address in case something opens up. Carrie's encounter with Mr. Jenks, the next agent on the list, pretty much goes down the same way, though he's a tad more helpful and suggests that she try to get some experience by getting a part in some small local production.
  • The third agent she approaches tells her she'll need to pay fifty bucks before he can help her get a part, which is super shady. Carrie's so desperate though, that she actually considers pawning some of her stuff to get the money. Carrie returns home and Hurstwood talks her out of giving the dude any money. She tells him her next move is to try and find a manager.
  • Hurstwood numbly rocks in his chair.