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An American Tragedy – The picture reflects modern American society of Theodore Dreiser!

An American Tragedy

Theodore Dreiser (1871-1945), with a naturalist inclination, was the most controversial and debated American novelist in the first quarter of the twentieth century.
He is a man full of contradictions. As an ideological writer, he writes essay novels, he does not care much about style and layout. Affectionate and rebellious, he himself is an “American tragedy”, as the title of his work. He exposes the nature of capitalism and its damage to human personality.

So, you must be wonder who he is, and why he suffers most of the debilitation of the authorities? We will find out through the following article!

Life up and down of Theodore Dreiser

He is the ninth child of a poor, German-born, Christian with more than 10 children. He was very miserable because his father had strict faith, a man who liked authority and was short-sighted. He had little education, patched up, then worked as an unskilled worker, he worked as a journalist, wrote cheap novels, and published quite successfully. The lavish life of an older sister as a money-making girl became a movie star, prompting him to write Sister Carree (1900). The work caused scandals, public objections, censorship intervened, the author fought back, had to be silent for 11 years.

Theodore Dreiser

In 1911 he returned to the problem of the “out of society” woman in Jenny Gerhardt, this time, he was supported by critics, he was accepted by the public. An American Tragedy (1925) brought glory to the author. The public has matured and embraced the bitter truth. At the age of 56 (1928), Dreiser went to the Soviet Union and wrote a travel book on it. He also wrote the essay Tragic America (1931) describing American society during the total economic crisis, referring to reform measures towards a more just social order. The short story Ernita (Gratitude) in the A Gallery of Women (1929) depicts the image of a true communist female soldier.

An American Tragedy

In 1925, Theodore Dreiser’s An American Tragedy was born and, like London’s Martin Eden, explored the dangers of the American dream. The story reappears in every detail about the life of Clyde Griffiths, a boy with a low will and little sense. He grew up in a poor family, wandering around preaching. The boy soon harbored his dream of being rich and loved by a beautiful woman. Then he was hired by a rich uncle to work in his factory.

An American Tragedy

When his girlfriend Roberta became pregnant, she demanded that he be married. Meanwhile, Clyde falls in love with a high-class society girl who represents success, money and social status. Clyde carefully devised a plan to drown Roberta on a boat trip, but at the last moment he changed his mind; however, she accidentally fell into the water. Clyde, a good swimmer, did not save her, and she drowned. When Clyde was brought to court, Dreiser told the story in the opposite direction, cleverly using the favorable positions of the prosecutor’s and defense attorneys to analyze every step and motivation leading Clyde, a Young people are naturally gentle, very religious and have good family relationships, to the point of committing murder.

Despite not having a sophisticated style, but Dreiser in An American Tragedy proves to be the master pen. The precise details of the work create a strong sense of an inevitable tragedy. The novel is a gritty picture that hurts the myth of easy success in America, and it’s also a popular story about the pressures of urbanization, modernization, and forgiveness. chemical. It also speaks to many aspects of the romantic and dangerous fantasies of the deprived.

An American Tragedy reflects the discontent, jealousy, and frustration that afflicts the poor and working-class in the fierce competition of American society, where success is both the driving force and the Obsessions. As the power of American industry rose, the gleaming lives of the wealthy that appeared daily in newspapers and magazines were a stark contrast to the dull lives of most peasants. and the working class in urban areas. The media has exaggerated life-changing desires and irrational desires. Issues like that are very common in modernizing countries, creating a living ground for the media trend that tends to stir up mud that is a kind of in-depth investigative report, documenting on social issues and providing an important impetus for social reform.


The Cambridge Companion to Theodore Dreiser

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