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The Comparison of the Tragedies of the Heroines in Sister Carrie and Jennie Gerhardt

 

Abstract

    Sister Carrie and Jennie Gerhardt are the most representative tragic novels by American novelist Dreiser. According to his personal experience, Dreiser shapes two vivid tragic images of young girls from poor countries to seek happiness in the capitalist society with deep sympathy. Their degeneration results from not only the personal character but also the society full of crime, materialism, and so on. In this thesis, one comparative study will be given to these two tragic figures. Combined with the author’s personal life, some interpretations will be made on their tragic lives through the analysis on the living environment where they lived and their values. Although Sister Carrie and Jennie Gerhardt have different life routes and living circumstances, the ultimate destinies for both are surprisingly similar. In that society, they both suffered helplessness, bitterness and also the cruel reality. As a result, the biggest consistence we can see in these two women refers to their life full of tragic color, which should be beyond doubt.

    The reason for doing such a research should be explained first as the author’s attention for women’s status living in that times, which reflects the people’s value judgment towards this weak group at that age. In addition, until today, women are still in an impartial status despite some improvements in all fields. In consequence, another aim to write this paper is to provide some historical lessons for the contemporary society, reminding us to give more attention to this group so as to eliminate such kind of tragedy to the minimum status. Literature is one necessary part of the real life. Consequently, there should not be just analysis in terms of pure literature. Focus and reflection on the present should also constitute another vital aspect of the such kind of research.

    Key words: tragedy; character; women

 

References

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