American Naturalism

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					American Naturalism
        American Naturalism
• I. Introduction
• 1. Origin
• (1) Industrialism: create a large group of
  very poor people; live in slums and cannot
  control their lives; self-reliance disappeared in
  the fast development of economy
• (2) The Origin of Species (Charles Darwin,
  1859, godless world, human beast, the
  survival of the fittest, cruel natural law
  correspond with cruel social realities
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• (3) Herbert Spencer: Social Darwinism
  (human controlled by heredity and
  outside social power)
• (4) Howell’s “smiling aspect” realism
  seems too genteel and even false. Thus
  the influence of French naturalism,
  Tolstoy and
  Turgenev came to American literature.
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• 2. Significance
• (1) Breaking through some forbidden
  area in literature (violence, death, sex
• (2) Greatly influencing the 20th century
  writers such as Hemingway and
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• II. Stephen Crane (1871- 1900)
• 1.     Works
• (1) Maggie: A Girl of the Streets (resistance
  of her slum life and at last suicide)
• (2) The Red Badge of Courage (changes of
  a young man’s psychological state in the civil
• (3) The Black Riders (poem collection)
• Crane and Emily Dickinson were two
  forerunners of Imagism.
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• 2.   Conclusion
• (1) Basic motif: environment and
  heredity overwhelm men
• (2) Pioneer of naturalism
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• III. Theodore Dreiser (1871 – 1945)
• 1.     Life
• (1) Indiana, German-speaking family
• (2) Extremely poor childhood
• (3) Worked as a reporter and his first
  book Sister Carrie was rejected many
• (4) In his later life, he turned to
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• 2.    Works
• (1) Sister Carrie (Carrie Meeber,
  Drouet, Hurstwood) (no control of her
  own life; driving blindly to catch all
  opportunities to make life better)
• (2) An American Tragedy
• (3) Cowperwood trilogy
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• 3.   Analysis
• (1) Social Darwinism (man only drive
  by desire; only fittest can live in the
• (2) Style: formless, dull, crude
• (3) Powerful depiction of American
  social life and moving characters
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• IV. Jack London (1876 – 1916)
• 1.    Life
• (1) name: John Ariffith London; born in
  San Francisco
• (2) lived in the lowest part of society in
  his youth
• (3) decided to change his life by
  ntellectual effort
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• (4) his works were rejected many
• (5) at last succeeded and became a
• (6) fame and upper class life made him
  feel boring; committed suicide
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•   2.   Works
•   The Call of the Wild (story of a dog)
•   White Fang (story of a wolf)
•   The Sea Wolf
•   Martin Eden
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• 3.   Analysis
• (1) Social Darwinism, Neitzchean
  superman, socialist doctrines of Marx
• (2) Naturalism mingled with
• (3) Limitations: formless, clumsy yet
  vigorous style; stiff and stereotyped
  characters and dialogues
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• V. O. Henry
• Original name: William Sidney Porter
• He was good at writing clever short
  stories and employ New York City as
  the background.
• His stories showed his sympathy with
  the lower class.
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• He always created the special ends
  described as “tears with smile” for his
• His famous stories include “The Gift of
  the Magi” and “The Cop and the
• His short stories are somewhat like
  French writer Maupassant’s.

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