Representative Works from Naturalism

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Published in 1925, An American Tragedy is loosely based on a true story and is considered the best example of American Naturalism. It is the story of Clyde Griffiths, whose desire to see the American dream made manifest in his life almost leads him to commit murder. In just one of the novel's examples of irony, Clyde is found guilty of committing murder, even though his intended victim died accidentally.

An American Tragedy is typical of Dreiser's work in demythologizing the American dream. Dreiser felt that believing in the American dream led to heartbreak, disappointment, and cynicism. An American Tragedy typifies Naturalism because it concerns an ordinary middle-class man whose circumstances push him to make extreme choices. Having always dreamed of a better life and having always been told he could create that life, he is finally on the brink of entering the upper echelons of...

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This section contains 1,247 words
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Buy the Naturalism Study Guide
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Literary Movements for Students
Naturalism from Literary Movements for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.