McTeague: A Story of San Francisco Themes & Symbolism

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The idea that one is not responsible for, or capable of changing, his or her own makeup is a predominant theme throughout this book. Trina justifies her miserly ways by saying she "can't help it." McTeague alludes to the fact that his violent and drinking ways are due in part to his father's passing those traits down to him.

Often people use the "nature" argument ("it's in my nature") to justify their actions rather than having to face their flaws and potentially do something about them. In this book, this is certainly true of McTeague and of Trina. Neither wants to change their ways, and each finds it easiest to dismiss their flaws out of hand and to attribute them to nature or, to use a scientific word, heredity. In Trina's case, she does not want to admit that the money may be the cause of the...

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This section contains 900 words
(approx. 3 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the McTeague: A Story of San Francisco Study Guide
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