Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Sister Carrie and the Leisure Class

Sister Carrie and the Leisure Class

(essay at link above)

The year after Thorstein Veblen's classic Theory of the Leisure Class appeared, Theodore Dreiser's novel Sister Carrie followed. Coincidence? Not really: the two books shared many of the same themes.


What of Carrie herself? That she was capable of such sensitivity of feeling testifies to the fact that sensitivity can occur in the absence of wealth – pace Thorstein Veblen. Yet Veblen would have been right about Carrie: her entire view of life was based on the desire for consumption, and a concomitant loathing for production. Therefore, she was sensitive to everything that the leisure class accumulates – from clothes to manners.

No comments: