Most Internet users are aware that the World Wide Web can be a strange place. There are forums dedicated to uncovering the connection between Aaliyah and the Illuminati. There's the entire dark web, where you can trade in weapons, drugs and other contraband. There are photos of a drunk guy dressed like Santa getting a handjob in public in New York City.
But not every online oddity is conspiratorial, criminal or — in the case of that last one — cringeworthy. Some of them are as harmless as they are bewildering.
Case in point: There are half a dozen Twitter profiles based on characters from the 1900 novel Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser, which are, for some reason, reenacting the book's plot. There are two accounts dedicated to the protagonist, Caroline "Sister Carrie" Meeber; one for her initial romantic interest, Charles Drouet; another two for her homewrecking second lover, George Hurstwood; and a final one for other additional characters. Together, they are all recounting Carrie's tale of traveling from her farming hometown of Columbia City, Illinois to Chicago, where she struggles with work, love and success. The tweets don't pull lines or dialogue from Dreiser's novel verbatim; instead, they summarize the characters' sentiments at each plot turn.
It's easy enough to follow the story, but the bigger questions is undoubtedly: Why? Why go through all the trouble? Is this a computer programming exercise? A homework assignment from a tech-savvy English teacher? An avantgarde exploration of storytelling in new media? An early sign that Skynet is approaching and that it happens to be a fan of Victorian literature?
We, unfortunately, have no answers. But you can take a shot at figuring it out yourself (or just gawking bewilderedly, as we were) with a sampling of the tweets below.
On the train to Chicago! Talking with a very charming, well-dressed man. He is friendly & quite attractive, and plans to visit me on Monday— Sister Carrie (@SisterCarrie5) December 29, 2012
Met a swell lady on the train to Chicago today, she really was a little peach! #siscarrie— Charles Drouet (@DapperDrouet) October 24, 2011
Minnie: I remember I looked over the crowd and spotted Carrie and I rushed to her, but our reunion was not joyous and ecstatic.#SisCarrie— CarriesSidekick (@CarriesSidekick) October 25, 2011
Settling into Minnie's flat in Chicago. Onto a lean and narrow life, it seems.— Sister Carrie (@SisterCarrie5) December 29, 2012
Sven: I sure hope that sister of Minnie's is going to be a good contributor to this household. #SisCarrie— CarriesSidekick (@CarriesSidekick) October 25, 2011
Minnie& her husband Sven wants me to go home. I don't want to, so I'm looking for new job. Still haven't seen Drouet... #sistercarrie— Sister Carrie (@SisterCarrie5) December 29, 2012
Drouet offered to loan me money & rent me a room, & convinced me it is the best idea. More fun than living w/Minnie & Sven anyway!— Sister Carrie (@SisterCarrie5) December 29, 2012
Hurstwood is a rather good fellow. How fortunate I am to be in the merry company of Carrie and old Hursty. #SisCarrie— Charles Drouet (@DapperDrouet) October 24, 2011
Mr. Hurstwood is such a fine gentlemen, so clever and sophisticated. We played euchre, I think he may have let me win.— Sister Carrie (@SisterCarrie5) December 29, 2012
Drouet is a fine fellow yet I can't help but feel he is not of the same character as that exquisite Carrie...— George Hurstwood Sr. (@Hurstwood5) December 30, 2012
This coverage of Sister Carrie is brought to you by Clementine Classics: Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser, the first installment in the Clementine Classics e-book series from Black Balloon Publishing.
Sometimes reading the classics is a chore, but not so with the snarky annotations by Clementine the Hedgehog. Having made her debut as a weekly book reviewer of note on Tumblr in 2012, Clem now takes on Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser. On each page, she inserts her keen insights, dark sense of humor and cut-the-crap commentary.
Clementine Classics is a new series from Black Balloon Publishing that gives classic works of literature the contemporary annotations they deserve. Obsessed, possessed and thoroughly distressed by the originals, today's writers riff, rant, praise and flay these old books, giving them new life. The series' beautifully designed e-books are both an act of sincere literary criticism and a new, composite form of humor writing.
KEEP READING: More Internet
- Check Out How Many Kids on Twitter Hate Reading Sister Carrie
- 6 Ways to Fight Trolls Instead of Starving Them
- The First White House Website is Still Online