Sister Carrie, p. 111:
Hurstwood, to Carrie (Carrie’s been introduced to him by an acquaintance, Drouet. Drouet introduced Carrie to Hurstwood as “Mrs. Drouet.” Nevertheless, Hurstwood soon discerns that Mrs. Drouet spends much time alone. And he has also seen Drouet in the company of other women. When the opportunity arises, Hurstwood tells Carrie the following): “I am practically alone. There is nothing in my life that is pleasant or delightful. It’s all work and worry with people who are nothing to me.”
As he said this, Hurstwood really imagined that his state was pitiful. He had the ability to get off at a distance and view himself objectively – of seeing what he wanted to see in the things which made up his existence. Now, as he spoke, his voice trembled with that peculiar vibration which is the result of tensity . . .
How interesting, self thinks. Hurstwood wants Carrie to love him. At the same time, he’s telling himself the story of – himself as an unloved man. It’s self-pity, but he doesn’t know that. In the meantime, Carrie, who is very young, just 18, is stunned but basks “in the warmth of his feeling.” What, she wonders are her own hesitations worth when measured against the needs of this man Hurstwood, who “glowed with his own intensity”?
Further: “You think,” he said, “I am happy; that I ought not to complain? If you were to meet all day with people who care absolutely nothing about you, if you went day after day to a place where there was nothing but show and indifference, if there was not one person in all those you knew to whom you could appeal for sympathy or talk to with pleasure, perhaps you would be unhappy too.”
Let’s skip the rest, as we already know where that is going.
Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.