Rent Essay

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Perkins is a professor of American and English literature and film. In this essay, she examines the theme of survival in the play.

The nineteenth-century American writer Stephen Crane's celebrated short story “The Open Boat,” which focuses on four men in a small dinghy struggling against the current to make it to shore, is often quoted as an apt expression of the tenets of naturalism, a literary movement in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries in France, the United States, and England. Writers included in this group, such as Crane, the Frenchman Émile Zola, and the American Theodore Dreiser, expressed in their works an environmental determinism that prevented their characters from exercising their free will and thus controlled their destinies. These authors wrote of a world beset by poverty and war at the beginning of the industrial age.

Environmental forces also threaten to rob individuals...

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This section contains 998 words
(approx. 3 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Rent Study Guide
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