American Literary Naturalism

شاطر | 
 

 American Literary Naturalism

استعرض الموضوع السابق استعرض الموضوع التالي اذهب الى الأسفل 
كاتب الموضوعرسالة
همسة براءة



نوع المتصفح موزيلا

صلي على النبي

صل الله عليه وسلم


انجازاتي
لايتوفر على اوسمة بعد:

الوسام الأول


مُساهمةموضوع: American Literary Naturalism   2011-08-09, 19:38

American literary naturalism has almost always been viewed with
hostility. During its early years the movement was associated with
Continental licentiousness and impiety and was regarded as a literature
foreign to American values and interests. "We must stamp out this breed
of Norrises," a reviewer of McTeague cried in 1899. 1 In our own
time, though antagonism to naturalism is expressed more obliquely, it is
as deeply rooted. A typical discussion of the movement is frequently
along the following lines.2 The critic will examine the sources of
naturalism in late nineteenth-century scientism, in Zola, and in
post-Civil War industrial expansion. He will note that to a generation
of American writers coming of age in the 1890s the mechanistic and
materialistic foundations of contemporary science appeared to be
confirmed by American social conditions and to have been successfully
applied to the writing of fiction by Zola. But he will also note that
Stephen Crane, Frank Norris, and Theodore Dreiser were often muddled in
their thinking and inept in their fiction, and he will attribute these
failures to their unfortunate absorption of naturalistic attitudes and
beliefs. Our typical critic will then discover a second major flowering
of naturalism in the fiction of James T. Farrell, John Steinbeck, and
John Dos Passos in the 1930s. He will remark that scientism has been
replaced by Marxism and that the thinking of this generation of
naturalists is not so much confused as doctrinaire, but his account of
their work will still be governed by the assumption that naturalism is a
regrettable strain in modern American literary history.
Indeed, the
underlying metaphor in most accounts of American fiction is that
naturalism is a kind of taint or discoloration, without which the writer
would be more of an artist and through which the critic must penetrate
if he is to discover the essential nature and worth of the writer. So
those writers who most clearly appear to be naturalists, such as Dreiser
and Farrell, are almost always praised for qualities that are distinct
from their naturalism. We are thus told that Dreiser's greatness is not
in his naturalism 3 and that he is most of all an artist when not a
philosopher.4 And so the obvious and powerful thread of naturalism in
such major figures as Hemingway, Faulkner, and (closer to our own time)
Saul Bellow is almost always dismissed as an irrelevant and distracting
characteristic of their work.
This continuing antagonism to
naturalism has several root causes. One of the clearest is that many
critics find naturalistic belief morally repugnant. But whereas earlier
critics stated openly their view that naturalism was invalid because man
was as much a creature of divine spirit as animal substance, the more
recent critic is apt to express his hostility indirectly by claiming
that naturalistic novelists frequently violate the deterministic creed
that supposedly informs their work and are therefore inconsistent or
incoherent naturalists. On one hand, this concern with philosophical
consistency derives from the naturalist writer's interest in ideas and
is therefore a justifiable critical interest. On the other, there seems
little doubt that many critics delight in seeking out the
philosophically inadequate in naturalistic fiction because man is
frequently portrayed in this fiction as irredeemably weak and deluded
and yet as not responsible for his condition. It is the rare work of
fiction of any time in which threads of free will and determinism do not
interweave in a complex pattern that can be called incoherent or
inconsistent; on strictly logical grounds man either has free will or he
does not. Yet it is principally the naturalistic novel that is damned
for this quality, which suggests that it is the weighting of this
inconsistency toward an amoral determinismnot its mere presencethat is
at stake.5
Another source of the hostility of modern critics to the
naturalistic novel lies in recent American political history. American
naturalism of the 1890s was largely apolitical, but in the 1930s the
movement was aligned with the left wing in American politics and often
specifically with the Communist party. In the revulsion against the
party that swept the literary community during the 1940s and 1950s, it
was inevita- ble that naturalistic fiction of the 1930s would be found
wanting because the naturalists of that decade, it was now seen, had so
naively embraced some form of communist belief. The most influential
critical discussions of American naturalism during the 1940s and
1950sPhilip Rahv's "Notes on the Decline of Naturalism," Malcolm
Cowley's" 'Not Men': A Natural History of American Naturalism," and
Lionel Trilling's "Reality in America" 6have as an underlying motive a
desire to purge American literature and its historiography of an
infatuation with an alien and destructive political ideal.
A final
reason for the antagonism toward naturalistic fiction is that several
generations of academic critics have been attracted by an increasingly
refined view of the aesthetic complexity of fiction. They have believed
that a novel must above all be organicthat is, be the product of a
romantic imaginationand they have found principally in the work of
Hawthorne, Melville, Faulkner, and to a lesser extent James, that
enlargement of metaphor into symbol and that interplay of irony and
ambivalence that bring fiction close to the complex indirection of a
metaphysical lyric. Stephen Crane is the only naturalistic writer whose
fiction satisfies these expectations, and his work is generally held to
be uncharacteristic of the nonartistry of a movement more adequately
represented by Dreiser.7
I do not wish to suggest by this brief
survey of the critical biases that have led to the inadequate
examination of American naturalism that there are not naturalistic
novels muddled in conception and inept in execution. But just as we have
long known that the mind-set of an early nineteenth-century critic
would little prepare him to come to grips with the essential nature and
form of a romantic poem, so we are coming to realize that a generation
of American critics has approached American literary naturalism with
beliefs about man and art that have frequently distorted rather than
cast light upon the object before them.
Theodore Dreiser is the
author whose work and career most fulfill the received notion of
American naturalism; indeed, it is often difficult to determine the
demarcation between literary history and critical biography in general
discussions of American naturalism, so completely is Dreiser as thinker
and writer identified with the movement in America. It would be
instructive, therefore, to test the example of Dreiserto note, initially
and briefly, those characteristics of his career and work that lead us
to describe him as a naturalist; and then, more fully, to examine some
of the naturalistic elements in his fiction. But unlike so much of the
criticism of naturalism I have been describing, I do not wish to
undertake this test with the assumption that Dreiser's fiction is
confused in theme and form because he is not a consistent naturalist or
that his work is best when he is least naturalistic. In short, I do not
wish to consider his naturalism as an unfortunate excrescence. Rather, I
want to see how his naturalistic predispositions work in his fiction
and whether or not they work successfully.
Dreiser was born an
outsider. His parents were of Catholic, German-speaking immigrant stock
and throughout Dreiser's youth the large family was agonizingly poor. As
a young man Dreiser sought the success and position that his parents
had lacked and also shed the religious and moral beliefs which, he
believed, had shackled them.
While a young reporter in Pittsburgh in
the early 1890s, he found his deepest responses to life confirmed by his
reading of Herbert Spencer and Balzac. There were, he believed, no
discernible supernatural agencies in life, and man was not the favored
creature of divine guidance but an insignificant unit in a universe of
natural forces. Although these forces, whether biological or social,
were the source of racial progress, they often crushed the individual
within their mechanistic processes. Like many of his generation, Dreiser
found that the observed realities of American society supported this
theory of existence. The mills and libraries of Pittsburgh were evidence
of progress, but the lives of the immigrant foundry workersto say
nothing of the lives of Dreiser's own errant sisters and
brothersappeared dwarfed and ephemeral compared with the grinding and
impersonal power of a vast economic system and a great city. Yet the
city itself, as Balzac had amply demonstrated, was exciting and
alluring, and not all were crushed who sought to gain its wonders. In
Sister Carrie Dreiser was to write, "Among the forces which sweep and
play throughout the universe, untutored man is but a wisp in the wind." 8
But though Hurstwood is swept away by these forces, and though Carrie's
career is that of a storm-tossed ship, Carrie survives and indeed grows
in understanding by the close of the novel. So accompanying Dreiser's
endorsement of an amoral determinism there exists a disconcerting
affirmation of the traditionally elevating in lifeof Carrie, for
example, as a figure of "emotional greatness," that is, of imaginative
power. Forty-five years after Sister Carrie Dreiser joined the Communist
party while celebrating in his last two novels the intuitive mysticism
at the heart of Quaker and Hindu belief. Here, in brief, at the two
poles of his career and work is the infamous intellectual muddle of
Dreiser and, by extension, of naturalism itself. And this muddle appears
to be matched by a corresponding lack of control and firmness in
fictional technique. Dreiser documents his social scene with a
pseudoscientific detachment yet overindulges in personal philosophical
disquisitions; he attempts to write a "fine" style but produces
journalistic cliché and awkwardness.
So in most important ways
Dreiser fulfills the conventional definition of the American naturalist.
All the major paradoxes are present: his identification with the
"outsider," which was to lead to a contemptuous view of the mainstream
of middle-class American life, yet his lifelong worship of "success";
his acceptance of a "scientific" mechanistic theory of natural law as a
substitute for traditional views of individual insight and moral
responsibility, yet his affirmation of many of these traditional views;
and his deep response to a major European novelist, including the form
of his fiction, yet his seeming neglect of style and form. I cannot hope
to discuss these major characteristics of Dreiser as a naturalist as
each appears in his eight novels. But I can pursue the vital
naturalistic theme of mechanistic determinism in two of his principal
novels, Jennie Gerhardt and An American Tragedy, and thereby reach
toward at least a modest understanding of the example of Dreiser.9
Dreiser
began Jennie Gerhardt in early 1901, soon after the publication of
Sister Carrie. He wrote most of the novel during the next two years,
though he did not complete it until late 1910. Like Sister Carrie,
Jennie Gerhardt is about a girl from a poor family who has several
sexual affairs with men of higher station but who emerges from her
adventures not only unsullied but also elevated in character and
insight. The novel differs from Sister Carrie primarily in Dreiser's
characterization of Jennie and of Lester Kane, the principal man in
Jennie's life. Kane, at least on the surface, is a more powerful,
successful, and contemplative figure than Hurstwood, and Jennie differs
from Carrie in that she is a warm and generous giver rather than a
taker.
In the course of the novel, Jennie is seduced first by Senator
Brander, by whom she has a child, Vesta, and then by Lester Kane. She
and Kane are attracted to each other by a powerful natural "affinity"
and they live together contentedly for several years. But because Lester
is gradually forced to accept that a permanent union with Jennie would
adversely affect his business career and the comfortable certainties of
his social and family life, they do not marry. Eventually they part,
Lester marries Letty Gerald, a woman of his own class, and Jennie
suffers the death of both her father and Vesta.
One of the major
scenes in Jennie Gerhardt is Lester's visit to Jennie after the death of
Vesta. Deeply depressed by Vesta's death and by his realization that he
erred in leaving Jennie, Lester tells her, "it isn't myself that's
important in this transaction [that is, life itself] apparently; the
individual doesn't count much in the situation. I don't know whether you
see what I'm driving at, but all of us are more or less pawns. We're
moved about like chessmen by circumstances over which we have no
control." 10 This famous pronouncement, which has supplied several
generations of literary historians with a ubiquitous image for the
philosophical center of American naturalism, requires careful analysis
both in its immediate context and in relation to the novel as a whole if
it is to be properly understood.
Whatever the general truth of
Lester's words, they represent a personal truth. His pawn image
expresses both his sense of ineffectuality in the face of the central
dilemma of his life and a covert supernaturalism that has characterized
his thought throughout the novel despite his overt freethinking. Earlier
he had attributed his difficulties merely to bad luck. But by the time
he and Jennie separate, he has elevated and generalized "fate" into a
specific force that is at once social, supernatural, and (as far as he
is concerned) malevolent:
It was only when the storms set in and the
winds of adversity blew and he found himself facing the armed force of
convention that he realized he might be mistaken as to the value of his
personality, that his private desires and opinions were as nothing in
the face of a public conviction; that he was wrong. The race spirit, or
social avatar, the "Zeitgeist" as the Germans term it, manifested itself
as something having a system in charge, and the organization of society
began to show itself to him as something based on possibly a spiritual,
or, at least, supernatural counterpart. (373-74)
Lester's
speculative statement that men are but pawns in the control of
circumstances is thus in part an explanation and a defense of his own
conduct. In particular, it is a disguised apology to Jennie for his
failure to marry her when he could have done so. But it is also a
powerful means of characterizing Lester. Throughout his life he had
lived for the moment and had postponed making decisions about the
direction of his life. But the decisionless flow of time contained an
impetus of events that constituted an implicit and irreversible
decision, and when Lester at last awoke to the fact that his life had
been decided for him, he bitterly and angrily blamed fate.
Because
Lester is a perceptive and on the whole an honest figure, his belief
that men are pawns involves more than a rationalization of his own
indecisiveness and ineffectuality. His belief also aptly characterizes
social reality as that reality has been dramatized in the novel. The
pressure of circumstances on Lester in his relationship with Jennie has
indeed been intense, from their initial meeting within the convention of
a seductiona convention that appeared to preclude marriageto the later
opposition of Lester's personal, business, and social worlds to the
continuation of the relationship. In a passage cut from Chapter XI of
the final holograph of the novel, Dreiser himself, as narrator, echoed
Lester's attribution of superhuman powers to social force. "The
conventions in their way," he wrote, "appear to be as inexorable in
their workings as the laws of gravitation and expansion. There is a
drift to society as a whole which pushes us on in a certain direction,
careless of the individual, concerned only with the general result." 11
In
his final position as one deeply puzzled by the insignificance of the
individual, Lester therefore reflects a persistent strain in Dreiser's
thought. Before making his pawn speech to Jennie, Lester had "looked
down into Dearborn Street, the world of traffic below holding his
attention. The great mass of trucks and vehicles, the counter streams of
hurrying pedestrians, seemed like a puzzle. So shadows march in a
dream" (400). The scene effectively images both Lester's and Dreiser's
belief that life is a helter-skelter of activity without meaning either
for its observers or for the "shadows" who give it motion. As a man
aware of the direction of modern thought, Lester is able to give this
view of life an appropriate philosophical framework. In the years that
pass after Vesta's death, his response to life, Dreiser tells us,
becomes "decidedly critical":
He could not make out what it was all
about. In distant ages a queer thing had come to pass. There had started
on its way in the form of evolution a minute cellular organism which
had apparently reproduced itself by division, had early learned to
combine itself with others, to organize itself into bodies, strange
forms of fish, animals, and birds, and had finally learned to organize
itself into man. Man, in his part, composed as he was of self-organizing
cells, was pushing himself forward into comfort and different aspects
of existence by means of union and organization with other men. Why?
Heaven only knew. . .. Why should he complain, why worry, why
speculate?the world was going steadily forward of its own volition,
whether he would or no. Truly it was. (404-5)
It must not be assumed,
however, that Lester's pessimistic response to the "puzzle" of man's
role in a mechanistic world is Dreiser's principal and only
philosophical theme in Jennie Gerhardt. For Jennie, though not Lester's
equal in formal knowledge or in experience, is his equal in the
"bigness" of her responsiveness to the underlying reality of life, and
she discovers not only puzzlement and frustration in life but also an
ineradicable beauty. Dreiser therefore follows his comments on Lester's
critical outlook with an account of Jennie's final evaluation of life.
This evaluation, because of its source and its strategic location, has
significance equal to Lester's beliefs. Jennie, Dreiser writes,
had
never grasped the nature and character of specialized knowledge.
History, physics, chemistry, botany, geology, and sociology were not
fixed departments in her brain as they were in Lester's and Letty's.
Instead there was the feeling that the world moved in some strange,
unstable way. Apparently no one knew clearly what it was all about.
People were born and died. Some believed that the world had been made
six thousand years before; some that it was millions of years old. Was
it all blind chance or was there some guiding intelligencea God? Almost
in spite of herself she felt that there must be somethinga higher power
which produced all the beautiful thingsthe flowers, the stars, the
trees, the grass. Nature was so beautiful! If at times life seemed
cruel, yet this beauty still persisted. The thought comforted her; she
fed upon it in her hours of secret loneliness. (405)
Jennie and
Lester's complementary views of life represent Dreiser's own permanent
unresolved conception of the paradox of existence. To both figures the
world "was going steadily forward of its own volition," apparently
guided by some unknowable power. Individuals counted for little in this
process, but individuals of different temperaments might respond to the
mechanism of life in different ways. One kind of temperament might be
bitter and despairing, another might affirm the beauty that was
inseparable from the inexplicable mystery of life. It has frequently
been noted that Dreiser himself held both views at different stages of
his careerthat he stressed a cruelly indifferent mechanistic universe in
Hey Rub-a-Dub-Dub (1920) and a mechanistic world of beauty in The
Bulwark (1946). It has not been as fully realized that he held the two
positions simultaneously as well as consecutively and that he gave each
position equal weight and dramatic expression in Jennie Gerhardt without
resolving their "discrepancy." For to Dreiser there was no true
discrepancy; there was only the reality of distinctive temperaments that
might find truth in each position or, as in his own case, of a
temperament that might find an element of truth in both. Dreiser's
infamous philosophical inconsistency is thus frequently a product of his
belief that life is a "puzzle" to which one can respond in different
ways, depending on one's makeup and experience.
The naturalistic
"philosophy" of deterministic mechanism in Dreiser's novels is therefore
usually secondary, within the fictional dynamics of each novel, to the
role of the concept as a metaphor of life against which various
temperaments can define themselves. Or, to put the matter another way,
Lester's belief in one kind of mechanistic philosophy and Jennie's in
another are less significant fictionally than the depiction of Jennie as
a woman of feeling and of Lester as a man of speculative indecision.
But it should also be clear that in attributing a secondary fictional
role to the mechanistic center of Jennie Gerhardt I am not saying that
the philosophy muddles the novel or that the novel is successful for
reasons other than the philosophy. I am rather saying that the
philosophy and the fiction are one and inseparable. As a late
nineteenth-century novelist, Dreiser absorbed and used naturalistic
ideas. But he did not do so, at his best, in a way that can be
distinguished from his absorption of an under- standing of character and
of experience in general. It is this unity of understanding and of
purpose that gives Dreiser's novels their power. At his most successful,
Dreiser embodies in his novels the permanent in life not despite the
ideas of his own time but because, like most major artists, he uses the
ideas of his own time as living vehicles to express the permanent in
man's character and in man's vision of his condition and fate.
Most
students of American literature are aware that Dreiser derived the
central plot and much of the detail of An American Tragedy from the
Chester Gillette-Grace Brown murder case of 1906. Less commonly known is
that although Dreiser's principal sourcethe reports of Gillette's trial
in the New York Worldpresented him with a wealth of detail about
Gillette's life in Cortland (the Lycurgus of the novel) leading up to
the murder of Grace Brown, it offered only a few hints about Gillette's
experiences before his arrival in that city. Thus, Book One of An
American Tragedy, which deals with Clyde's early life in Kansas City, is
in a sense ''invented." Such major events of this portion of the novel
as Clyde's sister's pregnancy, his job at the Green-Davidson Hotel, his
longing for Hortense, and the automobile accident that concludes the
book have no source in Gillette's life.
Because Dreiser in Book One
is "inventing" a background for Clyde it is possible to view this
section of the novel as the application to fiction of a simplistic
deterministic ethic in which the author crudely manufactures hereditary
and environmental conditions that will irrevocably propel the
protagonist toward his fate. So, in Book One, we are offered Clyde's
weak and fuzzy-minded father and coldly moralistic mother. We discover
that Clyde is a sensitive youth who longs for the material and sensual
pleasures of life but lacks the training, strength, and guile necessary
to gain them. Ergo: weakness and desire on the one hand and irresistible
attraction yet insurmountable barriers on the other will resolve
themselves into an American tragedy.
Dreiser in this opening section
of the novel is indeed seeking to introduce the deterministic theme that
a young man's nature and early experience can solidify into an
inflexible quality of mind that will lead to his destruction. Yet once
said, this observation is as useless to criticism as the equally true
statement that King Lear is about the failure and triumph of love. For
Dreiser in Book One of An American Tragedy is not a simple and
simpleminded naturalist applying a philosophical theory to documentary
material but rather a subtle fictional craftsman creating out of the
imagined concrete details of a life an evocative image of the complex
texture of that life.
Clyde's desire for "beauty and pleasure" 12 in
Book One is in direct conflict with his parents' religious beliefs and
activities, and thus Clyde's dominant impulse from early boyhood is to
escape. At fifteen he makes his first major break from his parents'
inhospitable mission existence and toward the life he desires when he
gets a job as assistant clerk at a drugstore soda fountain. This
position, with its accompanying "marvels" of girls, lively talk, and
"snappy" dressing, offers a deeply satisfying alternative to the drab
religiosity of Clyde's boyhood. He recognizes the appeal of this new
world "in a revealing flash": "You bet he would get out of that now. He
would work and save his money and be somebody. Decidedly this simple and
yet idyllic com- pound of the commonplace had all the luster and wonder
of a spiritual transfiguration, the true mirage of the lost and
thirsting and seeking victim of the desert" (I, 26).
Dreiser's
summary of Clyde's response to the lively worldliness of the soda
fountain introduces a theme, and its imagery and tone, that pervades the
entire novel. Clyde's needhis thirsthas the power to transform
"spiritually" the tawdry and superficial world of the drugstore into the
wondrous and exalted. So frequent and compelling is Dreiser's use of
"dream" in connection with Clyde's longing that we sometimes fail to
realize that his desires also have a basically religious context in
which his ''dream" is for a "paradise" of wealth and position ruled by a
"goddess" of love. Clyde at this moment of insight at the soda fountain
is truly converted. He has rejected the religion of his parents only to
find a different kind of heaven to which he pledges his soul with all
the fervor and completeness of his parents' belief. Yet like their
"cloudy romance" of a heaven above, Clyde's vision of a "paradise" below
is a "true mirage." He has thus not really escaped from his parents,
and his initiation into life at the soda fountain and later at the
Green-Davidson is no true initiation, for he has merely shifted the
nebulous and misdirected longings of his family from the unworldly to
the worldly. He still has the naïveté, blindness, and absolute faith of
his parents' enthusiasm and belief. And because he is, like them, a true
believer, he does not learn from experience and he does not change.
Clyde's
job as a bellhop at the Green-Davidson is both an extension and an
intensification of his conversion experience at the soda fountain. To
Clyde, the hotel is "so glorious an institution" (I, 33), a response
which at once reflects the religiosity of its sexual attractions and
their embodiment in a powerful social form. The Green-Davidson has both
an intrinsic and an extrinsic sexuality. So deep and powerful is Clyde's
reaction to its beauty and pleasureto its moral freedom, material
splendor, and shower of tipsthat he conceives of the hotel as a youth
does his first love. The Green-Davidson to Clyde is softness, warmth,
and richness; it has a luxuriousness that he associates with sensuality
and positionthat is, with all that is desirable in life: "The soft brown
carpet under his feet; the soft, cream-tinted walls; the snow-white
bowl lights set in the ceilingall seemed to him parts of a perfection
and a social superiority which was almost unbelievable" (I, 42). "And
there was music al-ways-from somewhere" (I, 33). Clyde thus views the
hotel both as "a realization of paradise" and as a miraculous gift from
Aladdin's lamp, two images of fulfillment that, in their
"spiritualizing" of his desires, appropriately constitute the center of
his dream life.
But the hotel has a harsh and cruel sexuality in
addition to its soft, warm, and "romantic" sensuality. Older women and
homosexuals prey on the bellhops, who themselves frequent whores, and
the hotel offers many instances of lascivious parties on the one hand
and young girls deserted by their seducers on the other. Clyde, because
of his repressed sexuality, cannot help responding to this aspect of sex
with "fascination" despite his fears and anxieties. The sexual reality
of the hotel is thus profoundly ambivalent. Clyde longs above all for
the "romance" of sex and for warmth and a sense of union, but the overt
sexuality that he in fact encounters is that of hardness, trickery, and
deceitof use and discarding. Both Clyde's unconscious need and his overt
mode of fulfillment join in his response to Hortense. "Your eyes are
just like soft, black velvet," he tells her. "'They're wonderful.' He
was thinking of an alcove in the Green-Davidson hung with black velvet."
(I, 112). Clyde unconsciously desires "softness" and later finds it in
Roberta, but he is also powerfully drawn by the "hardness'' of wealth
and sexual power that he is to find in Sondra and that he first
encounters at the Green-Davidson. Thus he endows Hortense with an image
of warm softness that reflects his muddled awareness of his needs. For
though Hortense is properly associated in his mind with the
Green-Davidson because of their similar sexual "hardness," she is
incorrectly associated with an image of softness and warmth.
Clyde's
belief that the Green-Davidson is a "glorious . . . institution" also
represents his acceptance of the hotel as a microcosm of social reality.
So he quickly learns that to get ahead in the worldthat is, to
ingratiate himself with his superiors and to earn large tipshe must
adopt various roles. So he accepts the hierarchy of power present in the
elaborate system of sharing tips that functions in the hotel. So he
realizes that he must deceive his parents about his earnings if he is to
have free use of the large sums available to him as an eager novice in
this institution. And because the world of the Green-Davidsonboth within
the hotel and as hotel life extends out into Clyde's relations with the
other bellhops and with Hortensealso contains Clyde's introduction into
sexual desire and sexual warfare, he assumes that the ethics of social
advance and monetary gain are also those of love. Thus, when in Lycurgus
he aspires to the grandeur of Sondra and her set, his actions are
conditioned by an ethic derived from the Green-Davidsonthat hypocrisy,
dishonesty, role-playing, and sexual deceit and cruelty are the ways in
which one gains what one desires and that these can and should be
applied to his relationship with Roberta.
The major point to be made
about Dreiser's rendering of the Green-Davidson Hotel as an important
experience in Clyde's life is that we respond to his account not as an
exercise in determinism but as a subtle dramatization of the ways in
which a distinctive temperamenteager, sensitive, emotional, yet weak and
directionlessinteracts with a distinctive social setting that supplies
that temperament with both its specific goals and its operative ethic.
Again, as in Jennie Gerhardt, there is a naturalistic center to this
fictional excellence. It is correct to say that Clyde's life is
determined by his heredity and environment. But, once more, as in Jennie
Gerhardt, the naturalism and the fictional strength are inseparable.
The naturalism is not an obstacle to the excellence but the motive
thrust and center of the bedrock fictional portrayal of how people
interact with their worlds and why they are what they are.
To sum up.
One of the major conventions in the study of American naturalism is
that naturalistic belief is both objectionable in its own right and
incompatible with fictional quality. But the example of Dreiser reveals
that the strength often found in a naturalistic novel rests in the
writer's commitment to the distinctive form of his naturalistic beliefs
and in his ability to transform these beliefs into acceptable character
and event. We are moved by the story of Jennie and Lester and by the
account of Clyde's career not because they are independent of Dreiser's
deepest beliefs but rather because they are successful narratives of
man's impotence in the face of circumstances by a writer whose creative
imagination was all of a piece. Until we are willing to accept that the
power of a naturalistic writer resides in his naturalism, we will not
profit from the example of Dreiser.
الرجوع الى أعلى الصفحة اذهب الى الأسفل
معاينة صفحة البيانات الشخصي للعضو
توفيق بشار



نوع المتصفح موزيلا

صلي على النبي

صل الله عليه وسلم


انجازاتي
لايتوفر على اوسمة بعد:

الوسام الأول


مُساهمةموضوع: رد: American Literary Naturalism   2011-08-12, 16:45

thank you to this topic distinctive and valuable programs make the most wonderful, but I hope that you do not stop there
الرجوع الى أعلى الصفحة اذهب الى الأسفل
معاينة صفحة البيانات الشخصي للعضو
همسة براءة



نوع المتصفح موزيلا

صلي على النبي

صل الله عليه وسلم


انجازاتي
لايتوفر على اوسمة بعد:

الوسام الأول


مُساهمةموضوع: رد: American Literary Naturalism   2011-08-13, 07:44

thanku 4 ur sweety word
blassed
الرجوع الى أعلى الصفحة اذهب الى الأسفل
معاينة صفحة البيانات الشخصي للعضو
Roshan



نوع المتصفح موزيلا

صلي على النبي

صل الله عليه وسلم


انجازاتي
لايتوفر على اوسمة بعد:

الوسام الأول


مُساهمةموضوع: رد: American Literary Naturalism   2011-08-14, 19:54

بارك الله فيييييييييييييك
موضوع رائع
ومفيد
وقيم
اجمل تحية
الرجوع الى أعلى الصفحة اذهب الى الأسفل
معاينة صفحة البيانات الشخصي للعضو
 
American Literary Naturalism
استعرض الموضوع السابق استعرض الموضوع التالي الرجوع الى أعلى الصفحة 
صفحة 1 من اصل 1

صلاحيات هذا المنتدى:لاتستطيع الرد على المواضيع في هذا المنتدى
شبكة سيدي عامر :: أقسام العلم و التعليم :: المرحلة الجامعية و الدراسات العليا :: اللغة الانجليزية نظام lmd-
انتقل الى: