Published in 1900, this book is credited with having an impact on the course of American literature. Dreiser's sparse style depicts the realities of everyday city life (Chicago and New York) at the turn of the 19th Century in a way that seems to hide nothing. It thus allows the reader to feel that they can see the characters as they really are. The novel does not judge the behavior of the characters in the story. But rather it simply lays out the story of their actions for the reader to ponder. Carrie is a woman dealt a bad hand, who determines to make the most of what she has, seizing opportunity when it is offered. Charles Drouet is a pleasure seeker, a mixture of the vulgar and the appealing. And George Hurstwood experiences what we now call a mid-life crisis and ends up losing everything in his pursuit of happiness. Of the three protagonists living in the big City, one is destroyed, one rises to the top, and the third passes through unscathed. Success appears to have nothing to do with being good or bad. But rather, people strive to do their best and things happen.