Quotes from Sister Carry

Theodore Dreiser ·  384 pages

Rating: (32.3K votes)


“People in general attach too much importance to words. They are under the illusion that talking effects great results. As a matter of fact, words are, as a rule, the shallowest portion of all the argument. They but dimly represent the great surging feelings and desires which lie behind. When the distraction of the tongue is removed, the heart listens.”
― Theodore Dreiser, quote from Sister Carry


“How true it is that words are but the vague shadows of the volumes we mean. Little audible links, they are, chaining together great inaudible feelings and purposes.”
― Theodore Dreiser, quote from Sister Carry


“Many individuals are so constituted that their only thought is to obtain pleasure and shun responsibility. They would like, butterfly-like, to wing forever in a summer garden, flitting from flower to flower, and sipping honey for their sole delight. They have no feeling that any result which might flow from their action should concern them. They have no conception of the necessity of a well-organized society wherein all shall accept a certain quota of responsibility and all realize a reasonable amount of happiness. They think only of themselves because they have not yet been taught to think of society. For them pain and necessity are the great taskmasters. Laws are but the fences which circumscribe the sphere of their operations. When, after error, pain falls as a lash, they do not comprehend that their suffering is due to misbehavior. Many such an individual is so lashed by necessity and law that he falls fainting to the ground, dies hungry in the gutter or rotting in the jail and it never once flashes across his mind that he has been lashed only in so far as he has persisted in attempting to trespass the boundaries which necessity sets. A prisoner of fate, held enchained for his own delight, he does not know that the walls are tall, that the sentinels of life are forever pacing, musket in hand. He cannot perceive that all joy is within and not without. He must be for scaling the bounds of society, for overpowering the sentinel. When we hear the cries of the individual strung up by the thumbs, when we hear the ominous shot which marks the end of another victim who has thought to break loose, we may be sure that in another instance life has been misunderstood--we may be sure that society has been struggled against until death alone would stop the individual from contention and evil.”
― Theodore Dreiser, quote from Sister Carry


“How true it is that words are but the vague shadows of the volumes we mean.”
― Theodore Dreiser, quote from Sister Carry


“When a man, however passively, becomes an obstacle to the fulfillment of a woman's desires, he becomes an odious thing in her eyes, - or will, given time enough.”
― Theodore Dreiser, quote from Sister Carry



“When a girl leaves her home at eighteen, she does one of two things. Either she falls into saving hands and becomes better, or she rapidly assumes the cosmopolitan standard of virtue and becomes worse”
― Theodore Dreiser, quote from Sister Carry


“A real flame of love is a subtle thing. It burns as a will-o'-the-wisp, dancing onward to fairy lands of delight. It roars as a furnace. Too often jealousy is the quality upon which it feeds.”
― Theodore Dreiser, quote from Sister Carry


“A thought will color a world for us.”
― Theodore Dreiser, quote from Sister Carry


“Our civilisation is still in a middle stage, scarcely beast, in that it is no longer wholly guided by instinct; scarcely human, in that it is not yet wholly guided by reason. On the tiger no responsibility rests. We see him aligned by nature with the forces of life - he is born into their keeping and without thought he is protected. We see man far removed from the lairs of the jungles, his innate instincts dulled by too near an approach to free-will, his free-will not sufficiently developed to replace his instincts and afford him perfect guidance... In this intermediate stage he wavers - neither drawn in harmony with nature by his instincts nor yet wisely putting himself into harmony by his own free-will... We have the consolation of knowing that evolution is ever in action, that the ideal is a light that cannot fail. He will not forever balance thus between good and evil. When this jangle of free-will and instinct shall have been adjusted, when perfect understanding has given the former the power to replace the latter entirely, man will no longer vary. The needle of understanding will yet point steadfast and unwavering to the distant pole of truth.”
― Theodore Dreiser, quote from Sister Carry


“In the light of the world's attitude toward woman and her duties, the nature of Carrie's mental state deserves consideration. Actions such as hers are measured by an arbitrary scale. Society possesses a conventional standard whereby it judges all things. All men should be good, all women virtuous. Wherefore, villain, hast thou failed?”
― Theodore Dreiser, quote from Sister Carry



“When Caroline Meeber boarded the afternoon train for Chicago, her total outfit consisted of a small trunk, a cheap imitation alligator-skin satchel, a small lunch in a paper box, and a yellow leather snap purse, containing her ticket, a scrap of paper with her sister's address in Van Buren Street, and four dollars in money. It was in August, 1889. She was eighteen years of age, bright, timid, and full of the illusions of ignorance and youth. Whatever touch of regret at parting characterised her thoughts, it was certainly not for advantages now being given up. A gush of tears at her mother's farewell kiss, a touch in her throat when the cars clacked by the flour mill where her father worked by the day, a pathetic sigh as the familiar green environs of the village passed in review, and the threads which bound her so lightly to girlhood and home were irretrievably broken.”
― Theodore Dreiser, quote from Sister Carry


“Here were these two, bandying little phrases, drawing purses, looking at cards, and both unconscious of how inarticulate all their real feelings were. Neither was wise enough to be sure of the working of the mind of the other. He could not tell how his luring succeeded. She could not realized that she was drifting, until he secured her address. Now she felt that she had yielded something - he, that he had gained a victory. Already he took control in directing the conversation. His words were easy. Her manner was relaxed.”
― Theodore Dreiser, quote from Sister Carry


“Carrie felt this as a personal reproof. She read "Dora Thorne," or had a great deal in the past. It seemed only fair to her, but she supposed that people thought it very fine. Now this clear- eyed, fine-headed youth, who looked something like a student to her, made fun of it. It was poor to him, not worth reading. She looked down, and for the first time felt the pain of not understanding.”
― Theodore Dreiser, quote from Sister Carry


“Caroline, or Sister Carrie, as she had been half affectionately termed by the family, was possessed of a mind rudimentary in its power of observation and analysis. Self-interest with her was high, but not strong. It was, nevertheless, her guiding characteristic. Warm with the fancies of youth, pretty with the insipid prettiness of the formative period, possessed of a figure promising eventual shapeliness and an eye alight with certain native intelligence, she was a fair example of the middle American class—two generations removed from the emigrant. Books were beyond her interest—knowledge a sealed book. In the intuitive graces she was still crude. She could scarcely toss her head gracefully. Her hands were almost ineffectual. The feet, though small, were set flatly. And yet she was interested in her charms, quick to understand the keener pleasures of life, ambitious to gain in material things. A half-equipped little knight she was, venturing to reconnoitre the mysterious city and dreaming wild dreams of some vague, far-off supremacy, which should make it prey and subject—the proper penitent, grovelling at a woman's slipper.”
― Theodore Dreiser, quote from Sister Carry


“Мөнгө гэгч энэ зүйлийг юуны өмнө ёс суртахууны үүрэгтэй эд бөгөөд шударгаар зарсан хөдөлмөрийн хариуд олох ёстой зүйл болохоос хууль бусаал хүчлэн авч байх зүйл биш гэдгийг хүн болгон ойлгосон тэр цагт манай нийгэм, улс төр,шашин шүтлэгийн тун олон балай явдал тасралтгүй арилах замдаа орох билээ”
― Theodore Dreiser, quote from Sister Carry



“now. If any habits ever had time to fix upon her, they would have operated here. Habits are peculiar things. They will drive the really non-religious mind out of bed to say prayers that are only a custom and not a devotion. The victim of habit, when he has”
― Theodore Dreiser, quote from Sister Carry


“Every person according to his light," said Ames "You must help the world express itself. Use will make your powers endure...”
― Theodore Dreiser, quote from Sister Carry


“A half-equipped little knight she was, venturing to reconnoiter the mysterious city and dreaming wild dreams of some vague, far-off supremacy, which should make it prey and subject - the proper penitent, groveling at a woman's slipper.”
― Theodore Dreiser, quote from Sister Carry


“All men should be good, all women virtuous. Wherefore, villain, hast thou failed?”
― Theodore Dreiser, quote from Sister Carry


“What did you lie to me”
― Theodore Dreiser, quote from Sister Carry



“What old illusion of hope is not here forever repeated! Says the soul of the toiler
to itself, "I shall soon be free. I shall be in the ways and the hosts of the merry. The
streets, the lamp, the lighted chamber set for dining are for me. The theatres, the halls,
the parties, the ways of rest and the paths of song—these are mine in the night." Though
all humanity be still enclosed in the shops, the thrill runs abroad. It is in the air. The
dullest feel something which they may not always express or describe. It is the lifting of
the burden of toil.”
― Theodore Dreiser, quote from Sister Carry


“She looked into her glass and saw a prettier Carrie than she had seen before; she looked into her mind, a mirror prepared of her own and the world's opinions, and saw a worse. Between these two images she wavered, hesitating which to believe.”
― Theodore Dreiser, quote from Sister Carry


“The long drizzle had begun. Pedestrians had turned up collars and trousers at the bottom. Hands were hidden in the pockets of the umbrella-less - umbrellas were up. The street looked like a sea of round, black-cloth roofs, twisting, bobbing, moving. Trucks and vans were rattling in a noisy line, and everywhere men were shielding themselves as best they could.”
― Theodore Dreiser, quote from Sister Carry


“Төрж өссөн нутгаасаа гарч үзээгүй хүнд харь газар нутгийг үзэх хачин сонин байдаг. Тэр бол сэтгэл баясган баярлуулахдаа хайр сэтгэлийн дараал ордог байх”
― Theodore Dreiser, quote from Sister Carry


“Гудамж талбайгаар есөн жорийн эрээн мяраан сонин хачин зарлал гэж байгаагүй бол, үй түмэн хүн гудамж талбайгаар үргэлж гүйлдэж байдаггүй бол өвлийн хахир хүйтэн улирал бидний сэтгэл зүрхэнд хичнээн сүрхий дарамт болохыг, гэрэл гэгээ дулаан илчээ бидэнд зохих хэмжээгээр хүртээж чадахаа больдог өвлийн өдөр бидний сэтгэл санааг хичнээн их зовоохыг төвөггүй ойлгохсон. Тийм зүйлсийн эрхэнд бид аль зэрэг байдгаа тэр болгон ойлгодоггүй. Бид бол үнэндээ дулааны хүчээр бий болж, түүгээр дутахдаа сөнөдөг хорхой шавьж л гэсэн үг.”
― Theodore Dreiser, quote from Sister Carry



“When waters engulf us we reach for a star.”
― Theodore Dreiser, quote from Sister Carry


“His eyes expressed the difficulty he felt.”
― Theodore Dreiser, quote from Sister Carry


“We are inclined sometimes to wring our hands much more profousely over the situation of another than the mental attitude of that other [..] would seem to warrant. People do not grieve so much sometimes over their own state as we imagine. They suffer, but they bear it manfully. [...] We see, as we grieve for them, the whole detail of their blighted carreer, a vast confused imagery of mishaps covering years, much as we read a double decade tragedy in a ten-hour novel. The victim, meanwhile, for the single day or morrow is not actually anguished. He meets his unfolding fate by the minute and the hour ast it comes.”
― Theodore Dreiser, quote from Sister Carry


About the author

Theodore Dreiser
Born place: in Terre Haute, Indiana, The United States
Born date August 27, 1871
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