Naturalism in "Martin Eden" and "An American Tragedy" Analytical Essay by Mira

Naturalism in "Martin Eden" and "An American Tragedy"
An in-depth examination of naturalism in the novels "Martin Eden" by Jack London and "An American Tragedy" by Theodore Dreiser.
# 153787 | 10,791 words | 39 sources | MLA | 2013 | IE
Published on Jan 16, 2014 in Literature (American)

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This paper explores the specific features of naturalism as a literary movement in Europe and in the United States by analyzing the novels "Martin Eden" by Jack London and "An American Tragedy" by Theodore Dreiser. The paper identifies the context surrounding naturalism and considers the unique contribution of Emile Zola to naturalism. The paper contrasts the development of naturalism in America and Europe, and discusses Jack London and Theodore Dreiser as eminent representatives of American naturalism.

Chapter 1: Naturalism
Chapter 2: Jack London
Chapter 3: The Importance of Jack London's Novel "Martin Eden"
Chapter 4: Theodore Dreiser
Chapter 5: The Significance of "An American Tragedy"
Chapter 6: Conclusion

From the Paper:

"Naturalism is a literary movement that occurred in the period between the 1880s and 1940s. This movement identifies extensive realism as its major tool for explaining that certain social conditions, heredity, and the factor of the environment contribute to shaping human character and personality. The specificity of naturalism relates to the persistent intention to replicate a probable daily reality, and thus the literary movement is contrasted to such movements as romanticism and surrealism, in which the prevailing mode of dominance is that of symbolic and idealistic ideas. Naturalism refers to a specific type of literature that implements essential scientific principles of objectivity in the process of the detailed exploration of individuals. Being quite different from realism, which extensively relies on literary technique, naturalism demonstrates a quite solid philosophical position based on the assumptions of the French writer Emile Zola. This implies that naturalism was founded in France before being brought to other places, including America.
"Naturalism is also based on the idea expressed by Charles Darwin related to "the survival of the fittest". He claims, "In the struggle for survival, the fittest win out at the expense of their rivals because they succeed in adapting themselves best to their environment." This means that species adapt and change in the process of natural selection, as the best-suited species turn out to become dominant over time. The theory of natural selection of Darwin contradicted the creation of human beings, as this process is perceived to be the biggest factor resulting in the diversity of species. One of the major principles of Darwin's theory that finds application in the literary movement of naturalism is that all species need to reproduce and survive."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Applegate, Edd. American Naturalistic and Realistic Novelists: A BiographicalDictionary. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2001.
  • Berliner, Jonathan. 'Jack London's Socialistic Social Darwinism.' American LiteraryRealism 41, no. 1 (2008): 52-78.
  • Bloom, Harold. American Naturalism. Broomall, PA: Chelsea House Publishers, 2004.
  • "Charles Darwin Quotes." (2011).
  • Civello, Paul. American Literary Naturalism and Its Twentieth-Century Transformations:

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