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Jennie Gerhardt

Theodore Dreiser

Book Overview: 

This is a story of an innocent, caring, beautiful young girl from and extremely poor family who throughout her life is drawn into affairs with two different men from a much higher social class. How members of her family, the family of one of the wealthy men, and society in general react to her situation is the basis of this story.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .s to be something the matter with her."

"Oh," began Mrs. Gerhardt, visibly struggling with her fears, and moved to make an end of it at any cost, "Jennie is in trouble. I don't know what to do. She—"

Gerhardt, who had unscrewed a door-lock and was trying to mend it, looked up sharply from his work.

"What do you mean?" he asked.

Mrs. Gerhardt had her apron in her hands at the time, her nervous tendency to roll it coming upon her. She tried to summon sufficient courage to explain, but fear mastered her completely; she lifted the apron to her eyes and began to cry.

Gerhardt looked at her and rose. He was a man with the Calvin type of face, rather spare, with skin sallow and discolored as the result of age and work in the wind and rain. When he was surprised or angry sparks of light glittered in his eyes. He frequently pushed his hair back when he was troubled, and almost invariably walked the floor; just now he looked . . . Read More