Industrialisation and Identity Essay

In 1889 Chicago had the curious makings of growing which made such adventurous pilgrim’s journeies even on the portion of immature misss plausible. Its many and turning commercial chances gave it widespread celebrity. which made of it a elephantine magnet. pulling to itself. from all quarters. the hopeful and the hopeless – those who had their luck yet to do and those whose lucks and personal businesss had reached a black flood tide elsewhere. ( Dreiser 15f ) At the bend of the nineteenth century. the industrialization brought approximately enormous alteration in the US.

With inventions and innovations like the steam engine. railwaies. electricity. telephones and cabling. the construction of American society shifted and evolved. Peoples from the rural countries started flocking to the large metropoliss in hopes of happening work and a better life. a dream many chased in vain. The supporter in Theodore Dreiser’s fresh Sister Carrie. 18-year old state girl Carrie Meeber. is one of the “hopeful” ; she leaves her hometown to happen felicity and success in the large metropolis of Chicago.

At first. she stays with relations and experiences the suffering. boring daily battle of the working middle-class of job-hunting and so difficult humble labor in a mill. However. she shortly grows tired of her state of affairs. She lets herself be mesmerised by the wealth displayed by others. which both intimidates her and fills her with an insatiate yearning for money and position. With this desire turning in her bosom. she is willing to do all the forfeits to accomplish her end. go forthing her safe. but unstimulating place to populate with Charles Drouet. a adult male whom she hardly knows. but who offers her a comfy life style.

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However. Carrie still is non satisfied. so she leaves him for the wealthier George Hurstwood and continues to seek for a manner to success and felicity by obtaining position and trade goods. losing herself in the procedure. In his fresh Sister Carrie. Theodore Dreiser illustrates how the industrialization did non merely change the construction of American society at the bend of the nineteenth century. but besides have a deep impact on the consumer civilization and single consumer behavior of the American middle-class. taging the beginning of the impossible pursuit of fighting to make one’s individuality through ingestion.

The Industrialisation The innovations and inventions of the industrialization brought approximately great alteration for American society and people’s mundane lives. Roughly before 1750. even though the Americans with their steadily progressing frontier were a really progress-oriented people. the general outlook was to decease in a universe non much different to the one 1 was born in. ( Cross 53 ) However. during and after the industrialization. the increased development of ground-breaking new engineering did non merely impact the economic system. but besides the manner people viewed the universe.

The innovations of the steam engine and electricity. the new ways of traveling and communicating over long distances and new signifiers of retail created new employment and ingestion possibilities ( Cross 53 ) . leting a more and more comfy and epicurean life style in the metropoliss for the upper-class and those middle-class citizens who were able to afford to maintain up with the latest tendencies and manners. The steam engine is said to be the cardinal innovation of the industrialization period from the 18th to the twentieth century. as it inspired as many technological progresss as no other innovation before it.

Invented in Britain at the beginning of the eighteenth century. Gary Cross explains it took rather some clip until was imported. adapted and improved by the Americans to suit their demands. In the eighteenth century. he grounds. there was no demand for an alternate beginning of energy. as huge woods. coal sedimentations and H2O energy were available. In the nineteenth century. nevertheless. this apathetic attitude towards the steam engine changed basically and its possible as an energy beginning for fabrication was exploited. Cross 84 ) By 1830. merely approximately five per cent of the American mills used steam power ; by 1900. it was over 80 per cent. ( Cross 93 ) Steam besides found its utilizations in the non-industrial sector as cardinal warming for edifices. In Sister Carrie. Carrie delectations in her modern New York flat “supplied with steam-heat” and a “bath with hot and cold water” ( 307 ) . In add-on to that. the steam engine was applied in the country of transit as energy beginning for street autos. steam boats. and locomotives.

The railway had a enormous consequence on both the American economic system and society in the nineteenth century. Daniel W. Howe references three chief effects of the railway ( among many others ) : First. it sped up the procedure of urbanization by linking rural countries to the large metropoliss. ( Howe 565 ) For illustration. Chicago. one of the chief scenes of Sister Carrie. evolved from a small town of less than 100 dwellers in 1830 to a metropolis of 30. 000 in 1850. which would hold been perfectly “inconceivable [ … ] without the railway. ( Howe 567 ) In 1889. the clip the narrative of the fresh sets in. its population is greater than 50. 000 ( 16 ) . Second. leting the efficient conveyance of trade goods across the state by shortening waiting times and cutting costs. the railway non merely led to a enormous alteration in trading concern. but besides provided the inducement for technological promotion in steel production every bit good as in the efficiency and safety of trains and paths. puting the basis for farther invention of methods of conveyance subsequently in history. Howe 566 )

Finally. as a comparatively convenient and low-cost manner of going. railwaies besides provided the chance for long-distance trips and holidaies in far-away topographic points even for the American middle-class. ( Howe 565 ) There are two grounds for taking the train in Sister Carrie: for concern intents. and with the purpose of traveling to another metropolis. Interestingly. there are no existent holidaies taking topographic point in the novel ; simply programs of travel are mentioned. largely abroad trips to Europe ( 142 ; 357 ) . Of far more involvement are Drouet and his ambivalent feelings about concern travel.

He doubtless enjoys meeting and flirtation with the ladies he meets on the route. He has no reserves of striking up a confab with Carrie on her first train journey from her hometown to Chicago. who ( unsurprisingly ) is really impressed by Drouet and his cognition of the assorted topographic points he has visited on concern. ( 4ff ) Drouet is a “drummer” . a going salesman. a occupation necessitating the railroad for fast long-distance travel. For him. train journeys hold no deep significance ; they are merely a necessary portion of his work.

In a short flirting with a fille de chambre. he reveals that he travels far. but does non care for going all that much. explicating. “You get tired of it after awhile. ” ( 200 ) The same trip. simply a deadening return of a concern trip for Drouet. is a life-altering. exciting journey for Carrie. Never holding travelled before. she is reassured by the idea that place will ne’er be far off since the metropoliss were “bound more closely by these really trains which came up daily” ( 3 ) . The railway shortened travel times drastically.

While it took five hebdomads to go from Chicago over the Appalachians to New York in 1790. 70 old ages subsequently the distance could be crossed in simply two yearss. ( Cross 104 ) Originally. Carrie moves from the countryside to the metropolis because she is in demand of work ; nevertheless. her outlooks for her hereafter are far more ambitious. Her hopes of luck and celebrity she undertakings on “ [ T ] his onrushing train” . which “was simply rushing to acquire at that place. ” ( 3 ) The 2nd and by far most dramatic journey in Sister Carrie. nevertheless. is the elopement of Carrie and Hurstwood.

Having stolen a big amount of money from his employers. he tricks Carrie into go forthing Chicago with him on a train edge for Detroit. from where they continue to Montreal. Canada. Again. all hope is set on the train as the ( merely ) manner to a better hereafter. In this instance it is Hurstwood. who in his despair loses all fluency. who considers the lone possible hereafter as “a thing which concern [ s ] the Canadian line. ” ( 275 ) Making the train his line of life. he hopes to traverse the boundary line every bit shortly as possible. since abroad he will be safe from the legal reverberations of his offense.

Hurstwood manages to carry Carrie to remain with him. but since life in Montreal does non look worthwhile to either of them. they shortly decide to travel on to New York. once more with the hope of a promising hereafter expecting them one time they get off the train. The innovation of the telegraph revolutionised long-distance communicating exhaustively. perchance even more so than the railway did long-distance transit. Professor Samuel Finley Breese Morse and his squad were the first to develop a commercially feasible sort of electric telegraph in America ; by 1848. the system of wires reached Chicago. Howe 695 ) Research and experiments led to Thomas Edison happening a manner of directing messages back and Forth over one wire at the same clip in the 1870s and to his innovation of the record player. with which messages could be recorded. ( Cross 176 )

Unlike the telephone. which was invented by Alexander Graham Bell in 1876 and was chiefly used for societal intents ( Cross 181 ) . the telegraph was largely used for commercial intents and information transmittal. It besides found its usage in communicating on the railway. bettering the safety and efficiency of trains. Cross 102 ) In Sister Carrie. the telegraph and even the telephone have short visual aspects at important points in the narrative. both refering Hurstwood’s offense and dramatic flight. Coming across a “famous drug store” with “one of the first private telephone booths of all time erected” ( 271 ) . Hurstwood phones the train station to obtain information sing the train times. as he wishes to go forth every bit shortly as possible. Opposed to the freshness of the telephone so explicitly stressed by Dreiser. the already well-established telegraph is casually integrated in the narrative.

On the train edge for Detroit. Hurstwood worries that the afternoon documents might already cover his larceny and admirations “what telegraphs might come” ( 282 ) . bespeaking his fright of non being able to get away fast plenty. The telegraph was a utile tool for the constabulary to organize hunts and catching felons before they were beyond range. seemingly taking to a few successful apprehensions. ( 288 ) Once in Canada. Hurstwood uneasily checks the newspaper. and. “among the riff-raff of the telegraphed slayings. accidents. matrimonies and other intelligence points from out the length and comprehensiveness of the land” ( 297 ) . he discovers a little notice of his ain offense.

Because he can non see himself remaining abroad. he tries to negociate with his former employers the return of the money and a possible rehiring. the latter of which evidently arousing a much colder response than the first–also via telegraph. ( 302 ) Electricity was one immense measure towards a modern economic system and society. At first chiefly used to replace gas lighting. its utilizations expanded quickly with every new invention and betterment of bing engineering ; as mentioned. the telegraph and telephone depended on electric energy. and the electronic signal for the railroad introduced in 1872 greatly improved the safety of trains. Cross 102 )

However. in the first old ages. electricity was chiefly used to doing America a brighter place–in the actual sense. ( Cross 157 ) Brighter and cleaner than gas lighting. the electric visible radiation bulb invented by Thomas Edison in 1879 bit by bit took over places. offices. and metropolis streets. ( Cross 158 ) In the late eightiess. steam-powered street autos in many metropoliss were replaced by electric 1s. as they were a faster option to acquire the workers from their places to their work topographic points and back.

They were besides less expensive. and the inevitable pollution was concentrated in the country the energy was generated and non distribute throughout the metropolis ; electric trams did. nevertheless. increase noise pollution. ( Cross 159 ; 168 ) Light is the component making the most obvious differentiation between topographic points of luxury and topographic points of enduring in Sister Carrie: The former are all bathed in visible radiation. while the latter are cast in shadow or are dimly lit at best. For illustration. the shoe mill Carrie works in in the beginning is xtremely ailing lit ( 36f ) . while the section shops as temples of ingestion and the streets as their tracks are practically lambent ( 30 ) .

As their fiscal state of affairs in New York becomes irreversibly desperate. Hurstwood one twenty-four hours finds Carrie “reading. rather entirely. It was instead dark in the level. shut in as it was. ” ( 358 ) Bright visible radiations. on the other manus. are abundant in topographic points Carrie enjoys being ; she rather literally experiences the “bright side of life” when she dines out with friends at Sherry’s. a really popular and expensive eating house the high society of New York likes to dine at.

She wonders at the splendid dining chamber. all decorated and lambent. where the affluent Ate. [ with its ] candent visible radiations. the contemplation of their freshness in polished spectacless. and the radiance of gilding upon the walls [ … ] . On the ceilings were colored traceries with more gilding. taking to a Centre where spread a wide circle of light–incandescent Earths mingled with glistening prisms and stucco tendrils of gilding.


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