An American Tragedy | Critical Essay by David Guest

This literature criticism consists of approximately 38 pages of analysis & critique of An American Tragedy.
This section contains 11,115 words
(approx. 38 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the Critical Essay by David Guest

Critical Essay by David Guest

SOURCE: "Theodore Dreiser's An American Tragedy: Resistance, Normalization, and Deterrence," in The American Novel and Capital Punishment, University Press of Mississippi, 1997, pp. 45-74.

In the following essay, Guest explores the ways in which Dreiser raised questions about the nature of criminal responsibility in An American Tragedy.

Twenty-six years after the publication of Frank Norris's McTeague, Theodore Dreiser published An American Tragedy, a novel likewise inspired by a well-publicized capital murder case. Dreiser's real-life subject was Chester Gillette, a young man executed by the state of New York in 1908 for the murder by drowning of Grace "Billie" Brown. Gillette came from a poor family and had supported himself by doing odd jobs and menial labor for six years after his parents abandoned him at fourteen. He eventually found work in a factory owned by a wealthy uncle, and although his position...

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This section contains 11,115 words
(approx. 38 pages at 300 words per page)
Buy the Critical Essay by David Guest