Dr Katie McGettigan on Sister Carrie
Dr McGettigan is an expert in nineteenth-century American and transatlantic literature and print culture. She teaches on our MA in Victorian Literature, Art & Culture: the perfect forum in which to expand your knowledge and appreciation of Sister Carrie, Theodore Dreiser, and the key contexts for this novel.
Sister Carrie is contextually informed by the Chicago Worlds Fair of 1893 which doesn't appear in the novel but which influences Dreiser
The first Ferris Wheel appears at the Chicago Worlds Fair and the idea of the wheel of fortune/the ferris wheel influences the novel metaphorically even though the novel is set in 1889 (it is written in 1899)
Characters fortunes rise and fall in the novel: class boundaries are more fluid, and money makes social climbing possible, but a financial and social fall is equally possible.
Against the image of the Ferris Wheel is the rocking chair which represents stasis
Is Sister Carrie a novel about movement and the possibility of movement, or is it about stasis