An American Tragedy (Cliffs Notes) by Martin Bucco

By Martin Bucco

Known as the best writers at the American scene, Dreiser can be referred to as one of many world's top worst writers, with claims that he's an impurist with not anything yet genius. This tale, informed in grotesque element and with dependable realism, recounts the dilemmas and offerings of a "loser"; we watch him ascend to temptation, fall in transgression, and obtain his applicable penance.

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Ironically, the prevailing attitude among the professed Christians is that the shabbiness of the unordained Elvira Griffiths reflects on established sects, that her evangelism has directed her attention away from her growing son, and that a church is no place to debate her son's case. The narrator depicts Christian futility further in Pasquale's insanity: crawling around his cell, he mumbles prayers, taps his forehead on the floor, kisses it, and licks the feet of a brass Christ. Out of fear or contrition, others fall on their knees.

20. What social problems does Dreiser regard as unsolved? Have they been solved since 1925? 21. Discuss the regional aspects of Dreiser's novel. Discuss its universal aspects. 22. What is Dreiser's attitude or the attitude of the "implied author" toward the idea of moral purpose in the universe? SELECTED BIBLIOGRAPHY ELIAS ROBERT H. Theodore Dreiser: Apostle of Nature. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. 1949. Best single scholarly book on Dreiser. M. Theodore Dreiser. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1970.

Discuss Dreiser's variations on clock time. 7. What is the meaning of Clyde's several nightmares? 8. What is the relationship between Clyde's differing views of Roberta and Sondra? 9. Describe the role of Asa Griffiths in terms of the narrative. Is his effect on Clyde more or less significant than that of his wife? 10. How do films influence Clyde? 11. Does Clyde change during the long course of this novel? 12. How does the Reverend McMillan contribute to Clyde's death? 13. Discuss the east-west theme in An American Tragedy.

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