This time period reflects the ideas that surrounded Dreiser. Growing up poor in Indiana as the ninth of ten children in a devout Catholic German immigrant family, Dreiser received little formal education as his family moved from town to town. While able to secure a college education at the University of Indiana he only managed to stay enrolled for one year. However, he was voracious reader. One of his favorites was Dr. Sigmund Freud, the preeminent psychologist during Dreiser's life. This fascination with psychological theories as well as his ability to understand them would become a major trademark of his later work such as Sister Carrie, in which he details the rise and fall of a working girl. It is also predominant in his most successful work An American Tragedy, in which he spins the tale of a psychopathic, overly ambitious young man who will stop at nothing including murder to attain wealth and great status.
Sister Carrie is preoccupied with Dreiser's statement that society is two concerned with the societal demands for material success. This is the sociological declaration made in this novel. The author makes the reader see this. Take the following passage:
"A woman... [continues]
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