A “Why You Should Read Sister Carrie” Flash Fiction

I know Sister Carrie, because Dreiser has allowed me to know her. Carrie would be flattered to have a book named after her. But she would also be pulled up short by having a mirror-book (a book that is a mirror) held up to her beautiful face, a mirror that can’t lie about her, because nature can’t lie, even if it wants to.

She’d be halted in her youth, which is a difficult thing to be halted in, by the chastening that she is not all that she could be. And who is? She has chosen the easier path, not that even the easier path is easy. Life’s a struggle and she’s lucky to have survived. To sit down in the comfortable chair, now that you’ve finally… through luck and a cleverness that not everyone has…finally won it. To take your ease, like a self-flattering lion at rest on the savannah or on the internet, who can find fault with that?

Carrie is desire. That we all have. She stands in for us. That’s why she’s called Sister Carrie. If only life were not so damn beautiful. We’d all be content to sit in our rocking chairs. There are a lot of rocking chairs in Sister Carrie. But it’s not certain that Dreiser thinks we should be sitting in them.