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What are the symbolisms found in An American Tragedy?

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deniseskye | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted July 27, 2007 at 4:47 PM via web

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What are the symbolisms found in An American Tragedy?

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Jamie Wheeler | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

Posted July 27, 2007 at 10:14 PM (Answer #1)

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There are not a lot of symbols in Dreiser's novel; it is a work of naturalism, "the literary movement that believed an individual's life is determined by environment, heredity, and chance; survival of the fittest and natural selection govern an indifferent universe."  But two symbols come up now and again:  the genie and the bird.  Both represent Clyde's desire to escape "the stresses of urbanization, modernization, and alienation."

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