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Chapter 4 American Naturalism
I.                   Background
1.         Darwin’s theory: “natural selection”
2.         Spenser’s idea: “social Darwinism”
3.         French Naturalism: Zora
II.                Features
1.         environment and heredity
2.         scientific accuracy and a lot of details
3.         general tone: hopelessness, despair, gloom, ugly side of the society
III.             significance
It prepares the way for the writing of 1920s’ “lost generation” and T. S. Eliot.
IV.              Theodore Dreiser
1.         life
2.         works
(1)      Sister Carrie
(2)      The trilogy: Financier, The Titan, The Stoic
(3)      Jennie Gerhardt
(4)      American Tragedy
(5)      The Genius
3.         point of view
(1)      He embraced social Darwinism – survival of the fittest. He learned to regard man as merely an animal driven by greed and lust in a struggle for existence in which only the “fittest”, the most ruthless, survive. (来源:www.EnglishCN.com)
(2)      Life is predatory, a “game” of the lecherous and heartless, a jungle struggle in which man, being “a waif and an interloper in Nature”, a “wisp in the wind of social forces”, is a mere pawn in the general scheme of things, with no power whatever to assert his will.
(3)      No one is ethically free; everything is determined by a complex of internal chemisms and by the forces of social pressure.
4.         Sister Carrie
(1)      Plot
(2)      Analysis
5.         Style
(1)      Without good structure
(2)      Deficient characterization
(3)      Lack in imagination
(4)      Journalistic method
(5)      Techniques in painting
 
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