Theodore Dreiser Essay - Theodore Dreiser American Literature Analysis

Theodore Dreiser American Literature Analysis

Dreiser is best known as a leading American naturalist writer. Naturalism, a literary trend which began in France and reached the United States in the 1880’s, depicted life realistically, often concentrating on the lower classes of society. Naturalism held that the lives of human beings were determined by circumstances and inborn traits, or drives. Thus, people acted purely on instinct, had no free will, and were unable to change. This philosophy of human life consequently gave naturalistic writing a depressing and pessimistic tone.

The name most frequently associated with French naturalism isÉmile Zola, but when Dreiser wrote Sister Carrie, he had not read any of Zola’s work. Neither had he read...

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