Sister Carrie in Consumer Society as Seen from Deception within Non-Verbal and Verbal Framework and the Fulfillment of Desires/SISTER CARRIE DANS LA SOCIÉTÉ DE CONSOMMATION VUE SOUS L'ANGLE DE LA TROMPERIE DANS LE CADRE NON-VERBAL ET VERBAL ET DE LA SATISFACTION DE DÉSIRS

Article excerpt


This essay attempts to analyze the theme of deception which is presented by two forms, one is silence, the other is lie, which are known as the deception within the non-verbal and verbal framework respectively. Widely employed in Sister Carrie, the theme of deception reveals the conflicts between feminine and masculine power through the utterances. In addition, the materialization in the relationship between man and woman especially Carrier and her two lovers is presented in the consumer society. And the protagonists in the novel are tragic products of the inability to communicate with each other and the victims of their desires and consumer society.

Key words: Silence, lie, consumer society, desire

Résumé: Le présent article tente d'analyser le thème de tromperie qui est présenté sous deux formes dont l'une est le silence et l'autre est le mensonge, qui sont considérés comme la tromperie dans le cadre non-verbal et verbal. Amplement employé dans Sister Carrie, le thème de tromperie révèle les conflits entre les puissances féminine et masculine à travers les paroles. De plus, la matérialisation de la relation homme-femme, notamment entre Carrie et ses deux amants, est présentée dans la société de consommation. Et les protagonistes du roman sont les produits tragiques de l'incommunication entre eux et les victimes de leurs désirs et de la société de consommation.

Mots-Clés: silence, mensonge, société de consommation, désir


The range of Theodore Dreiser's work is diverse: he wrote poems, essays, sketches and short stories, but is most famous for his novels. Influenced by his early career as a journalist, he wrote stories about actual events and his work described American life at the beginning of twentieth century. His understanding of and feeling for American life were acute. Dreiser wrote, "The extent of all reality is the realm of the author's pen, and a true picture of life, honestly and reverentially set down, is both moral and artistic whether it offends the conventions or not."2 Dreiser aims to include all aspects of social reality in his novels. At the beginning of the twentieth century, Britain, France, the United States, and Germany became the most developed countries in terms of industrialization. As a result of industrialization and urbanization, cities turned into metropolises and society gradually changed into a "consumer society."3 At the same time people attained more purchasing power to possess what they desired among the dazzling display of commodities. In order to tempt people to buy, admen usually exaggerated the advantages of their goods through deceptive acts. The dramatic development of the industrialized society inflamed people's endless desires for more things besides commodities, such as money, social status and affection. Desire enslaves people and forces people to act deceptively in their social lives in order to gratify their desires.

I will explore the theme of deception in the relationship between men and women in one of Dreiser's novels, Sister Carrie (1900). I will argue that the theme of deception is presented in two forms in Sister Carrie, which is the deception within non-verbal and verbal framework, to be exact, lies and silence. This thesis will concentrate on these two forms of deception and the motives underlying such deception. In Sister Carrie, the protagonists employ deception in the process of pursuing success and happiness and fulfilling their respective desires in the industrialized society.

Significantly, two forms of deception are portrayed incisively and vividly in Augustin Daly's well-known play Under the Gaslight4 in which Carrie plays her first starring role as Laura early in the novel. It is this theatrical experience that leads to her subsequent successes on the stage. Carrie Meeber's stage debut in Sister Carrie provides a model for the theme of deception that recurs throughout Dreiser's fiction. …


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