Summary and Analysis Chapter 16



Drouet, having promised his lodge brothers that he would find an actress for their fund-raising theatrical, turns to Carrie as a last resort. After some coaxing she becomes very willing to try a part in the melodrama. Because the members of the lodge to which he belongs know he is not married, Drouet has Carrie's name listed on the program as "Carrie Madenda," explaining to her that this would be to her advantage if she doesn't "make a hit."

Carrie learns her part very quickly, immersing herself in its sorrowful demeanor, the tremolo music, the long, explanatory cumulative addresses.


Carrie's imagination makes her suitable for an actress. She begins to learn her part avidly. Once again Dreiser uses the combined imagery of the rocking chair and the sea, in addition to the imagery of the theater: "As she rocked to and fro she felt the tensity of woe in abandonment, the magnificence of wrath after deception, the languor of sorrow after defeat. Thoughts of all the charming women she had seen in plays every fancy, every illusion which she had concerning the stage — now came back as a returning tide after the ebb." For Carrie the world of the stage, like the world of her imagination, is the most real of all possible worlds.

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