Theodore Dreiser’s novel “An American tragedy”
The notes on Theodore Dreiser’s literary activity. The history of the creation of the story "An American tragedy" and its place in Theodore Dreiser works. Clyde Griffith’s character and its reflection as a typical character of capitalist society.
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MINISTRY OF HIGHER AND SECONDARY SPECIAL EDUCATION
OF THE REPUBLIC OF UZBEKISTAN
GULISTAN STATE UNIVERSITY
"Theodore Dreiser's novel «An American tragedy», its translation into Uzbek and Russian"
1. Theodore Dreiser
1.1 Some notes on Theodore Dreiser's literary activity
The writer provides a third approach to this all absorbing social-biological problem of Clyde Griffiths is totally lacking in either the artistic gifts (of Witla) or the strong personality of Cowper wood. He is more like Carrie and Jennie in that his attitude toward life is passive; but he lacks their inner poise. From start to finish of his short career he is a victim of the social and biological forces which operate upon him. His instinct for fulfillment is not only thwarted by the forces without himself; his inner weakness makes even the development of a Carrie or a Jennie impossible. Thus, by choosing for his central character a boy who had practically no strength within himself through which mastery could be achieved, Dreiser in this novel throws all his emphasis on those forces of biological and social necessity which had shaped the careers of his stronger characters in spite of their protests. But by removing the only opposition that the individual can supply, the force of his own will for mastery, Dreiser here descends to the lowest possible plane of pure mechanistic determinism. The scene of the downing of Roberta Alden is carefully planned in order to remove the factor of will as an instrument. Clyde plots his act with the greatest care and carries it to its climax with apparently self-directed intention. But his hesitancy at the final moment transforms the murder into an accident, and his swimming away makes his act passive. The description of this story as a «tragedy» is almost ironic, even though Dreiser probably intended no irony. For the Fate of classical tragedy there were now substituted the necessities of social and biological mechanisms. But result is less tragic, in the classical sense, than are almost any other of Dreiser's novels because the opposition of man to his destiny, in whatever terms, is not even provisional. To raise necessity to the level of tragedy there must be at least the illusion of possible mastery. In Carrie and Jennie and Cowper wood this illusion is present; in Witla and Clyde it is not. The unknown creative force in life, The force that drove Cowper wood to the heights of power, that tore the soul of Eugene Wilta, that sent Clyde to the electric chair is now revealed as universal love.
An American Tragedy was written about a man's life. If you read this book you can learn that you should make your general behaviors better. This story was based on his general behaviors. It was written about from his childhood to his death. Of course, he had experiences of sympathy to his family, bad behaviors, loving someone and the atonement. This book was very interesting on human living. You will be able to enjoy reading it. Because I think that you have seen people like him. If you not so, at least you have had to hear about them like him. This book consists of three sections. First section explained his poor childhood and what he was as a young man: As his family was very poor they earned living by singing in the street. Then he longed for being rich. He had shown bad behavior. He also had loved a girl for the first time. Second section accounted for his growth to adulthood and love to some girls: For his first love he had the heart which was very pure. But he was getting used to love girls. For that reason he could even love, two girls at the same time. So, he had not only made many good memories with them in love but also so many accidents with them. Third section was written about his atonement: he was arrested for his girl-friend's death by officer. I think that anyone must has shown bad behaviors in the past. For example, telling a lie, hurting a person and deceiving one. Considering to this story, he was very loose, as it were, he did not have distinctions. The reason was why he became very crazy to separate her and he atoned for his crime of killing her. I think that if he had had distinctions he would have not committed a murder. Shortly, if his regular behaviors were better such a happening would have surely never occurred. When you read this book you will look at your regular behaviors over again. So, if you find something wrong you should try to change the parts of your thoughts. You will make yourself better. That is why I think you should read this book.
In minor characters, Dreiser reveals the plight of the individual in American society; but that society itself is not static. The span of years encompassed in his novels and short stories coincides with a period of tremendous social change in America. «The Financier» opens before the Civil War. In it, as in «Sister Carrie», The «Cenius», and other novels dealing with an alder form of American society, success comes early to those who use what abilities they have. There is no contradiction between their careers and their inner natures, because society itself is plastic. But Clyde and the younger generation in «The Bulwark» are their dialectic opposites. Clyde is the most pathetic failure in Dreiser even more so than Hurstwood, Carrie's second lover. In order to get ahead, he has to pretend, to tell social lies, and to act deceitfully. In his time the path of opportunity is no longer open, there have been alterations in the American Dream. In the early works, this dream operates as a motivation to rise on the basis of one's talants, energies, and capacities; in the later, the dream becomes one of success by marriage in order to have a life of leisure and enjoyment. Clyde is an ambitious youth in an America more stratified than that of Cowper wood and Witla. Thus Dreiser not only reveals the meaning of American social ideals in his own lifetime and during the period immediately preceding his birth; his works also mirror the changes in those ideals, and the change in the social structure of Americans life.
1.2 The place of «An American tragedy» in Theodore Dreiser works
Dreiser's methods of characterization are consistent with these attitudes and social revelations. Just as he does not conceive the individual as individual, so his characterizations are not mere representations at atomized men and women straggling in the American society of their time. They appear in their social roles, and their natures as well as their actions are involved in the functions which they perform in society. Carrie's first lover, Drout, is one of the most successful and attractive of Dreiser's minor characters. He is jolly, genial, superficial, yet he is strikingly different from the salesmen of, for example, Sinclair Lewis. Drogue does not subordinate himself to the «fetish of commodities»; a successful salesman, he is concerned with a life of pleasure, he feels secure in his world. He appears in a social role which is an integral feature of his «individuality», similarly. Hurst wood has the charm, the savoir-faire, the sophistication of the professional major-domo in a high-class saloon, concerned with meeting important personages, when he loses this position, he lasses also the personality that goes with it. His character is social rather than individual, and his defeat is that of a man who has lost his function and place in society. The tragedy in Dreiser's novels is social tragedy. His characters do not merely represent themselves; they speak for their classes and their occupations. «An American Tragedy» would remain a tragic work even if Clyde and Roberta had not died; but it is tragic in a new sense. In Dreiser, the old terms of art are reset by the social thinking of his day. He wrote what he knew what he was. His many colloquialisms were part of the coinage of his time, and his sentimental and romantic passages were written in the language of the educational system and the popular of his formative years. In his style, as in his material, he was a child of his time, of his class. Self-educated, a type or model of the artist of plebeian origin in America, his language, like his subject matter, is not marked by internal inconsistencies. As a style, in the formal sense, it never developed at all, and he frequently permitted his novels to be revised by others before publication.
There are many passages in these novels that rise to high levels of passionate writing. In Dreiser the subject matter is always more important that the expression. Because he reveals the very nerves of American society he has exerted a more profound, a more lasting influence than any other novelist on twentieth century realistic fiction in America. Several generations of writers are already his debtors. His influence is discoverable in a seriousness of approach to the material of American life, in a greater freedom of theme, in the parallelism of ideas and phenomena. Dreiser desorbed the broad patterns of modern American experience; his successors have been more intensive in their treatment. Because he was faithful to his art and made no compromises with the censors and the pudes, his work gives a sense of totality and finality.
1.3 The Aims and task of the papers
American literature is very rich and unlimited. We know it well. Its role in world literature is huge. One of its great representatives is Theodore Dreiser (1871-1945). He is known in Uzbekistan mainly as the author of «Sister Carrie» and «An American Tragedy». Both these nice novels are translated into Uzbek language. The fifth novels was translated from Russian into Uzbek in 1971 by Erkin Nosirov. The first part of «An American Tragedy» was also translated into Uzbek by Erkin Nosirov but it was done in 1976. But these books are not studied in Uzbek literature. While to study these books and their Russian and Uzbek translations have valuable significance not only for Uzbek but for American literature as well. The interrelations between the culture as well as the literature of the Republic of Uzbekistan and America is developing day by day. There are still a lot of things to do in these branches. One of these problems is to study the peculiarities of Theodore Dreiser's literary activity on the one hand and his works on the other. Fictional translation plays a great role in the development of Uzbek literature as well. Fictional translation has a great importance in the churchmen of our national literature, our social views. We must learn Theodore Dreiser's depiction methods and it will feel our world views.
In our final graduation paper aims at studying Theodore Dreiser's creative mastery skill. For this purpose we analyzed Russian Translation of «An American Tragedy» as the Uzbek translator chose for his brave the Russian translation. We must study the translation comparing English-Russian-Uzbek versions.
For fictional translation every author, every text should be carefully selected. When translated any work becomes the spiritual heritage of the people into whose tongue it is transferred as a Russian text we have the translation made by Vershinina and N. Gall. (Some Notes on Theodore Dreiser's literary activity)
Теодор Драйзер «Американская Трагедия» Часть первая (книга первая и книга вторая) Часть вторая. Оба они печатались по изданию «Художественная литература» Москва, 1978 год, в издательстве «Узбекистан» 1984 года.
Once Sherwood Anderson wrote that Theodore Dreiser's feet were paving a path, those feet were heavy, cruel feet. They are walking among the steppe of lies and self ling heavy steps paving the path. We must mention that Sherwood Anderson was Theodore Dreier's follower Theodore Dreiser widened the horizons of American realistic literature, while bourgeois America was always setting bars and hard slaps before him.
Theodore Dreiser left broad and picturesque trays. His literature, his works are quite different from those of other writers. He is brave, he never shattered shivered. He worked hard, he tailed, he hoped, he believed. We try to see such Courageous.
Dreiser not in the original, not in Russian, but also in Uzbek too.
On writing our final graduation papers we have the following aims and tasks:
1. To speak about American literature in Connection with Theodore Dreiser's literary activity.
2. To enlighten specific features of Theodore Dreiser in connection with the creation of «An American Tragedy».
3. To talk about «An American Tragedy» not only in Theodore Dreiser or in American but both in the world and Uzbek literatures.
4. To study the characters of Clyde Griffith and its reproduction in Uzbek. To see Clyde's attitudes to Hortense, Roberta and Sondra.
Each of the character takes separately and in connection with the main hero. To study ways and principles of reproductively of every image.
5. To pay attention to the fact how the characters examined are reflected in the Uzbek language.
6. To express our point of view about the texts translated.
Americans literature is wide and endless. It's great role in the development of world literature is also an ocean self evident. One of the greatest representatives of this literature is Theodore Dreiser. His literary activity is not studied specially. Theodore Dreiser as an author of a number of novels holds his strong position in the history of the American literature of the XX century.
Dreiser critical as a great writer social conditions of the society of his time, as namely these social conditions are the bearers of hardships which Clyde was to overcome in order to become a man of his own ideal. The reasons of Clyde's fall are shown in the book clearly. One of the reasons of his fall should be thought the social surrounding in which he had grown up. But we must hot barged one more truth; «The creator of each man's or woman's fate, first of all, he or she only. Clyde became the sacrifice, not a winner in an American society because he had not been brought up in proper way. “American Tragedy" a Fallen Dream , 2002. a look at The concept of The American Dream through a review of "An American Tragedy" by THEODORE DREISER The tragedy should be sought in Clyde first of all, because he could not stop himself in time. He let the life to load him towards his tragedy. He moved forwards happiness without difficulties. He didn't pay attention, did not take into consideration the proverb «There is no sweet without sweat». He wanted to get the sweat from heaven.
Sometimes we feel sorry for Clyde, but unfortunately we understand that are not right.
The thing that most interested Clyde at first was how, it at all, he was to keep the major portion of all this money he was making for himself. For ever since he had been working and earning money, it had been assumed that he would contribute a fair position of all that he received at least three fourths of the smaller salaries he had received up to this time-toward the upkeep of the home.
Больше всего занимала Клайда мысль, как сохранить для себя львиную долю денег, которые он зарабатывал. С тех пор как он впервые начал работать, установился такой порядок, что большую часть своего заработка, по крайней мере, три четверти Клайду приходилось вкладывать в общее хозяйство.
Клайдни хаммасидан хам топган пулиленинг анга мунчасини кандай килиб узимда олиб колсамикин, деган уй купрок бошни котиради. У иш бошлаганидан бери дастёрлар орасида вужудга келган келишувга кура, пулнинг купрок кисмини, кам деганда туртдан учини умумий харажатга бериш керак эди.
Clyde did not set before himself great aims. His dreams were huge but his acts were on the contrary too small. If he worked properly; if he behaved well himself towards people who surrounded him he would may be, achieved success, but instead of it he wanted to kill two girls with one stone and it is impossible to do it. Clyde's case should be taken into consideration by Clyde like youth.
«What we mean is that instead of working for good things his starvation burned towards any form of pleasure».
We know that everything ought to be in necessary portion. But Clyde wanted more pleasure. We want the author to centime our thoughts «from the first he listened with all too eager ears to any account of anything that spelled of adventure or pleasure. Not that he approved of these types of adventures».
«…being invited by them to a joy night supper a «blow-out»
His knowledge about adventure was too little before and he tried to seize every hint about the pleasure with great thirst. And the next «blow-out» was to take place at Frissel's. Clyde looked forward to it with interest, with anxiety.
The aim of the author is given by Russian and Uzbek translators well. They read Dreiser truly. The main hero's intentions are reproduced both in Russian and Uzbek translations adequately. Dreiser's realism probably finds its roots in his drifting childhood and in the poverty of his family background his father was a ruined and brooding man. These experiences had their effects on his brothers and sisters: one of his brothers was imprisoned for forgery (подлог, подделывание, фальшивые деньги), one of his sisters had an illegitimate child and was east out by the family. As a reaction, Dreiser lauded for money, success, and power and developed a fatalistic vision of life; men are not responsible for their actions of feelings, but are determined by the saltine in which they grow up and by biological factors which leave then powerless to resist temptations and impulses. In his own words, they are «more chemists», «helpless in the clutch of relentless: неумолимый, неослабевающий, безжалостный, непреклонный, fate». His reading of Nietzsche, Darwin, Spencer, Thomas Hurley and Machiavelli reinforced this determinism and tinged it with cynicism. As he wrote, «success is what counts in the world, and it is little mother how success is won.»
Dreiser's aim was to show life as it was, its poverty and sordidness, its vice and misery. He was fascinated by cities, the way they could make and unmake a man, the wealth of experiences they could provide hutted, her naturalism was much influenced by the work of Balzac. He also attacked the hypocrisy he saw everywhere and debunked the American myth, believing that work and good morals do not necessarily lead to success. Towards the end of his life Dreiser turned to political commitment and joined the Communist party. Dreiser's first novel, «Sister Carrie», is the story of the successful ascent of an actress, paralleled by the downfall of her lover, Hurstwood, who had tricked her into an illegal marriage. The book shocked its American readers who could not find any morality in it and who did not accept that Carrie should go unpunished. «The Trilogy of Desire» related the soaring career of an unscrupulous and ruthless magnate. An American Tragedy was inspired by a true murder case. Driven by his ambition and eager to marry into opulent society, Clyde Griffiths plans the death of his pregnant girlfriend and is executed at the end of the novel, even though she probably dies accidentally. Here again, the author does not take sides, does not try to justify or to condemn the ultimate fate of Griffiths.
Though Dreiser's prose is often ponderous, repetitive and full of cliches, he nonetheless succeeds in painting a simple and powerful, if sometimes brutal, portrait of his time.
Theodore Dreiser wrote on the city: The failure of an individual is as characteristic of the city, and of life as a whole. Nature is so grim. The city, which represents it so effectively, is also so grim. It does not care at all. It is not conscious. The passing of so small an organism at that of a man or woman is nothing to it. Beside a star or a great force at any kind the beginning or end of a little body is so ridiculous and trivial, that it is almost like that of an insect or a warm. And yet to the individual who is thus ground between the upper and the nether millstone of circumstance, the indifference of the city, and of the world and of life, comes as a terrible revelation. He learns that one way really die of starvation in a great city full of wealth, full of power, in a way, full of sympathy (misdirected, perhaps). The houses with which the streets are lined may be full of the comfort which attaches to happiness: the stores and offices crowded with those who are industriously bettering their fortune. On every hand are piled up the evidences of wealth great structures, well stocked stores, energetic factories, and the masses of material for sale, which can only be had for a price, and yet you may die.
(«The Man on the Sidewall,» in Bohemian, XVII, October 1909)
Theodore Dreiser once wrote on his art: The sum and substance of literary as well as social morality may be oppressed in three words tell the truth. It matters not how the tongues of the critics may wag if the voices of a partially developed and highly conventionalized society may complain, the business of the author, as well as of other workers upon this earth, is to say what he knows to be true, and, having said as much, to abide the result with patience.
Truth is what is; and the seeing of what is, the realization of truth. To express what we see housel and without subterfuge (увертка, отговорка): this is morality as well as art.
What the so-called judges of the truth or morality are really inveighing against most of the time is not the discussion of were sexual lewdness, (кокетливый, распутный, непристойный) for no work with that as a basis could possibly succeed, but the disturbing and destroying of their own little theories concerning life, which in some cases may be nothing more than a quite acceptance of things as they are without any regard to the well being of the future. Work for them is made up of a variety of interesting but immutable forms and any attempt either to picture any of the wretched results of modern social conditions or to assail the critical defenders of the same is naturally booked upon with contempt or aversion.
It is true that the rallying cry of the critics against so called immoral virtue of the reader must be preserved: but this has become a house of refuge to which every form of social injustice hurries for protection.
The influence of intellectual ignorance and physical and moral greed upon personal virtue produces the chief tragedies of the age, and yet the objection to the discussion of the sex question is so great as to almost prevent the handling of the theme literary. Immoral! Immoral! Under this cloak hide the vices of wealth as well as the vast unspoken blackness of poverty and ignorance: and between them must walk the little novelist, choosing neither truth nor beauty, but some half-conceived phrase of life that bears no honest relationship to either the whole of nature or to man.
The impossibility of any such theory of literature having weight with the true artist must be apparent to every clear reasoning mind. Life is not made up of any one phase or condition of being nor can man's interest possibly be so confined.
The extent of all reality is the realm of the author's pen, and a true picture of life, honestly and reverentially set down, is both moral and artistic whether if offends the conventions or not.
Dreiser, DRY seer, Theodore (1871-1946), ranks as the foremost American writer in the naturalism movement (a pessimistic form of realism) Dreiser's characters are victims of apparently meaningless incidents that result in pressures they can neither control nor understand. He based such novels as «Sister Carrie» and «An American Tragedy» on events from real life. He condemned not his villains, but repressive, hypocritical society that produced them. Dreiser's style lacks grace, but his best stories are powerful and sobering.
Theodore Dreiser grew up in a large, poor family in Terre Haute, Indiana.
Several of his brothers and sisters would later rescue Dreiser at low points in his career - two of his protagonists were based on sisters, and his brother, Paul, sent Dreiser to a resort when he was broke. A high school teacher paid to send him to Indiana University for one year, but Dreiser did not fit in, and he left college to become a reporter. News papering took him to Chicago, St. Louis, Pittsburgh, and New York City, where he gathered his first observations of the American cities that would play large roles in his upcoming novels.
Dreiser's novels are prime examples of literary naturalism, with characters driven by selfish motives and influenced by the privileges and limitations of social class. He was often criticized for telling amoral tales that could outrage readers or convince them that bad decisions would be rewarded. Among his most significant influences are Herbert Spencer and Honore de Balzac. Dreiser was a finalist for the Nobel Prize in 1930; when Sinclair Lewis won, he acknowledged Dreiser in his speech.
His first novel, «Sister Carrie,» based on the misadventures of his own sister, sold very poorly at first, and Dreiser lashed out against the publisher, Doubleday Page. Dreiser despaired of ever succeeding as a writer and resigned himself to life as a laborer in the Brooklyn slums. During these dark days Dreiser wrote a journal; although he intended it for personal use only, it was discovered and published in 1983. When his brother, a composer, found out about Dreiser's bad luck, he plucked him out of his tenement and, much to Mrs. Dreiser's relief, sent him to a resort for the wealthy. Dreiser regained his courage and wrote «Jennie Gerhardt,» based on the life of another sister. «Jennie» was a hit, and led readers to rediscover «Sister Carrie.» Just as his writing career was taking off, Dreiser separated from his first wife, Sara Osborne «Jug» White. His books after this point convey his philosophy more clearly, because Dreiser had always depended on the suggestions and criticism of Jug (who was also a reporter) and other friends. He married once more, in 1944, the year before he died.
Another of Dreiser's best-known novels is «An American Tragedy» (1925), which was adapted for the screen in 1951. «American Tragedy» is the story of a man driven to commit murder by the desire for financial gain, which he believes is the central part of the American dream. Clyde Griffiths wants to kill his poor, pregnant lover so he can marry his rich, beautiful lover. When the poor woman dies accidentally, Clyde's plot comes to light, and a jury finds him guilty of murder. Dreiser was born in Terne Haute Ind. His older brother was Paul Dreiser who wrote the song «On the Banks of the Wabash, Far Away», Dreiser's family was very poor, and he soon saw a profound difference between the promise and the reality of American life. This realization was a major source of Dreier's discontent and an important influence on his works. Dreiser attended Indiana University for a year. In the 1890's he worked as a newspaperman in Chicago and st. Louse, by 1907, he was the successful editor of the very sort of woman's magazine whose sentimentality and super facility he despised. Dreiser's first novel, «Sister Carrie», was partly based on the experiences of one of his sisters. The novelist Frank Norris, on editor at Doubleday, Page, and Co., enthusiastically accepted the manuscript for publication. But Nettle Doubleday, wife of the president of the company, was chocked by the manuscript's amorality, and the publisher tried to cancel the contract to publish the book. Dreiser insisted the agreement be honored. Doubleday printed the book in 1900, but did not advertise or distribute in. The novel became generally available in 1912, after another publisher is sued it. «Sister Carry» is the story of Carries Muber, a poor girl alone in Chicago. She likes with a traveling salesman and then runs off to New York with George Hurstwood a prosperous married man. Hurstwood's fortunes decline, and he becomes a bum and commits suicide. Carrie find's success, but not happiness, as an actress. Dreiser wrote «Jennie Gerhardt» (1911y) another novel of desire and fate. However, his reputation was assured with the publication of «The Financier» (1912), the most purely naturalistic of his works. It is the story of an industrial tycoon who claws his way to great power; Dreiser intended the novel as the beginning of a «Trilogy of Desire». But the second volume, «The Titan» (1914) was a failure, and the third volume. «The Stoic», was not published until two years after his death.
«An American Tragedy» (1925) is possibly the most impressive of Dreiser's books. It concerns a weak young man who in executed for the murder o f his pregnant girl friend, again Dreier did not condemn his villain but the society that produced and destroyed him.
After having denounced Dreiser's «barbaric naturalism» in 1915, he had the courage in 1925 to accept «An American Tragedy» as «the worst written great novel in the world» - but none the less great for its moral integrity and it's final mastery of the novel form. With «The Genius» he bucked the censorship of the press and again held back his novels except for «An American Tragedy» (1925), the story of a boy who, like Carrie and Jennie, failed to come to workable terms with American society.
His father was an immigrant German, is mother the daughter of German parents who belonged to a small religious sect in a farming region of Pennsylvania. Dreiser has described his father as a fanatically religious man, honest, hard - working, plodding. He might have been an American success on a small scale but was devoid of will and too persistently concerned with trying to avoid the fires of a theological hell. In Dreiser's writing he emerges as a strangely appealing and rather pathetic figure.
For his mother, Dreiser felt a lifelong devotion. His description of her in Dawn reveals her as a deeply emotional woman who gave to her large family maternal affection, warmth, and security, but for her, his life might have been as ineffectual as that of some of his own characters. In boyhood he was shy, eager, timid, brooding, bewildered, and slow to develop. He has himself confessed how important his mother's love and some measure of security were to him as well as to his brothers and sister.
His childhood and youth were not happy. His father was almost continually poor, and this family moved constantly from house to house, from one Indiana community to another; they spent one period on the crowded west side of Chicago. Besides poverty, the usually faced social ostracism. With each move, their hopes of economic and of social betterment reawakened, only to be disappointed, and again the Dreiser's children were rejected by their fellows. Theodore's suffering was further aggravated, when he passed the age of poverty, by severe fear of castration and impotence, which intensified his shyness and coursed sexual panic in the presence of girls. These difficulties, with the rigid conceptions of hell taught in the Catholic parochial school and reinforced by his father, played their part in his relative slowness of mental development. He was an inconsistent pupil, responding well only when his teachers took a sympathetic interest in him a brooding, groping boy and youth who had to learn everything for himself.
The brooding and groping style which he often used in his novels was a reflection of these inner struggles, and they provided him with one of the chief motives of his fiction; the conflict between what was then loosely termed «instinct» by the psychologists, and convention. The biological needs of his characters lead them to actions, particularly in love affairs, which result in infringements on the social code. His autobiographical writings tell us that he experienced this conflict constantly and poignantly in his own early life. The bewilderments of his teenage period of drifting from job to job he worked in a Chicago restaurant, drove for a laundry, collected for an easy payment furniture company, helped in a real estate, office, in the stockroom of whole sake hardware company, and soon suggest the later fictional wanderings of Clyde Griffiths in «An American Tragedy». His characters usually receive their education in life itself, in a real and savage struggle for place, money, and social prestige, rather than in schools.
Dreiser was educated, like his characters, not so much by his schooling as by hi repeated moves with their resulting contrasts of urban and rural life. From the farm lands and the many towns of Indiana, he came to know the vigorous young city of Chicago in the seventies and eighties. The moral and social consequences of the triumph of town over country were impressed upon him. In his early stories his characters, whenever they move to the city, find it an exciting adventure. The growth of cities is an integral motif of all his studies of youth. The decade of the nineties, when Dreiser was a youth in Chicago, was a crucial period in its history. By the time of the world's fair it was beginning to play an increasingly important role in national life, especially in finance and politics. No wonder he wrote, in Newspaper Days.
To me Chicago at this time seemed with a peculiarly human or realistic atmosphere. It is given to some cities, as to some lands, to suggest romance, and to me Chicago did that hourly. It sang, I thought, and …I was singing with it.
There he saw the contrasts of grandeur and misery which he was later to describe so movingly; there his dreams and hopeless of love, success, knowledge, prestige was born. It seemed to be a world city in the mating, a center of gravity for the American Success Dream.
Dreiser as a boy absorbed this dream of social power and easy money as if by osmosis, at the some time that he saw poverty, failure, ignorance, and defeat all about him, even in his own family. Attending popular lectures and reading Eugene Field, he determined to understand it and to report it faithfully; to become a newspaperman. He inescapably was that Norris, Crane, and Carlen envisioned the modern American to be.
There has been much debate among the critics as to whether Dreiser was a «naturalist» after the manner of Zola. Only when it serves to confine creative genius within a formula must it be rejected, for Dreiser belonged to no school, studied no sources with intent to obey, knew little of literary movements at home or abroad.
He was an objective realist who gathered his facts impersonally, but he was more. He lived in his dreams, his hopes, his brooding. For this reason, he absorbed both the realistic method and the new conceptions of the universe from science into his thought and his writing. His views are loose in formulation, and inconsistent. For example, his theory of the relativity of morals is as inconsistent as it is challenging. But such views of man and native as he had, however ill formed, are essential parts of his writing; without them, his works would be entirely different. They helped to deeper his imagination; they contributed toward the feeling of awe he creates concerning the condition of man, they served him in his very construction of theme, of story, of character. He was an artist, not a philosopher.
The absence of money means defeat; it means the back of education, of beauty. It means that one is a victim, like Clyde Griffiths, of the rich, of one's relationships with others. Dreiser directly described the pitilessness and the hierarchical character of capitalistic society by showing that just as the poor are the victims of the rich, the weak of the strong, so are women, inferior to men, usually victims. American tragedy, like all tragedy, is the consequence of weakness. The impulses, the passions of man pitilessly drive him to satisfy himself; the force of social circumstance, the force nature of the social struggle, toward him and produce both social and biological tragedy.
2. The main part
2.1 Clyde Griffith's character and its reflection
We meet a little band of six, a man of about fifty, shout, stout, with bushy hair protruding from under a round black felt hat, a most unimportant, looking person, who carried a small portable organ as in customarily used by street preambles and singers. And with him a woman perhaps five years his junior, taller, not so broad, bur solid of frame and vigorous, very plain in face and dress, and yet not homely, leading with one hand a small boy of seven and in the other carrying a Bible and several hymn books. With these three, but walking independently behind, was a girl of fifteen a boy of twelve and another girl of nine, all following obediently, but not too, enthusiastically in the wake of the others.
It was not, yet with a sweet languor about it all.
The man the father as he chased to be looked about him with seeming will eye assurance. The third of the family is Hester-the oldest girl, who until now had attempted to appear as unconscious and unaffected as possible, bestowed her rather slim and as yet undeveloped figure. This family was an unimportant looking (невзрачное семейство). The father had rather dubious baritone. Impractical materially inefficient feature of the father, whose weak black eyes and rather flabby but poorly clothed fissure bespoke more of failure than anything else.
At the group the mother alone stood out as having that force and determination which, however blind or erroneous, make for self-preservation, if not success in life… She stood up with an ignorant, yet somehow respectable air all conviction.
A tall and as yet slight fissure, surmounted by an interesting head and face while skin, dark hair he seemed more keenly observant indeed to resent and even to suffer from the position in which he found himself. Plainly pagan rather than religious, life interested him, although as yet he was not fully aware of this. All that coned be truly said of him now was that there was no definite appeal in all this for him. He was too young, his mind much to responsive to pleases of beauty and Theodore Dreiser fought for life and for justice and in these fields he opened new era of a prose and publicist writer. He paved the path for Sinclair Lewis, Sherwood Anderson, William Faulkner, Ernest Hemingway and others. If he could save some success in his youth he achieved it thanks to his hard looking, he studied in the University of Life. He worked hard for newspapers. Only from 1887 he turned into writing.
The future writer felt that there existed an invisible wall between real life out the society of journalism and literature. He wrote that he became indignant because of the contradictions which existed between what he read and the things which he had experienced. In the books everything was beautiful, quiet. But the real life consisted of hardships; it was rule, low, there even was no hint of the beautiful. Theodore Dreiser chose facts well-known for him. The life described in «An American Tragedy» is very much like Dreiser spent in his youth. This book may be considered to be Dreiser's the masterpiece, it is rich, and it penetrated deep American life. The events are true to life, there are much dark and light as well, and they are full of contradictions, conflicts, disappointments. True is one of true critics who consider that if even Dreiser's main heroes hadn't died. The fact would not b e able to hide the tragedy of the Clyde Griffith like youth. This book the life full of served as a mirror put before. Americans and later before the people of all world, because the novel is translated into many languages of the world. The novel may be thought to be the most important, valuable for Dreiser. We feel pettiness according to Clyde. Sometimes we want him to achieve the desired, but unfortunately he is not to cope with the tasks put before him. We sympathies with him, but real life dictates him its own laws and these laws are heavy. Clyde is too passive in An American life one must be very strong willed. We can't be simple spectator or observer of Clyde's fate. We are sorry for him when he is sentences to death to an electric chair. We don't like his behavior; he falls down little by little. He is not eager to help himself, he is not honest. At the some time we understand that the society in which is born is also responsible for his failure. The problem of Clyde like people failure is put not only in «An American Tragedy» but in Dreiser's other things as well.
The book exposes that the idea as if «American has great opportunities» is not so in reality. Material wealth does not comprise the base of happiness. An individual's interests are criticized when they are private interests.
The author opposes the characteristic features of a common people from humanistic point of view. We are quoting citing this passage in order to show yare how poor was Clyde Griffith's childhood. He is from a poor family. He «appeared indeed to resent, and even to suffer from the position in which he found himself», the family was always «hard up», never very well clothed, and deprived of many comforts and pleasures which seemed common enough to others. Hester or Esta the older daughter was called by the family.
Asa Griffiths - the father, was one of those poorly integrated and correlated organisms, the product of an environment and a religions theory, but with no guiding or mental.
Insight of his own, yet sensitive and therefore highly emotional, and without any practical sense whatsoever. Indeed it would be hard to make clear just how life appealed to him, or what the true full of his emotional responses was.
The creator of the novel is interested in Asa Griffiths and his wife because of their relation to Clyde, who was only twelve years old.
2.2 Clyde Griffiths is a typical character of capitalist society
Клайд Гриффитс существенно отличается от героев предыдущихпроизведений писателя своей обыденностью, обычностью, заурядностью. Керри обладала актерским дарованием, Дженни Герхард поражала душевным богатством, Каупервуда писатель даже уподобил Люциферу, у Витлы был талант художника. У Клайда нет талантов Витлы ели Керри, нет изворотливости и силы Каупервуда, нет душевной красоты я частоты Дженни. Он самый обычный и заурядный американский юноша, «средний молодой американец с типично американским взглядом на жизнь». Трагедия Клайда похожа в не похожа на трагедию Витлы или Дженни. Буржуазная Америка растаптывает душевную чистоту Дженни, глумятся над ее самыми сокровенными и искренними чувствами; буржуазная Америка губит талант Витлы; судьба же Клайда трагична именно потому, что он усваивает законы буржуазной Америки и по мере своих сил и возможностей следует ям, и оттого страшнее его трагедия, трагедия простого американца, американская трагедия.
Клайд - само олицетворение обычности, и в этом смысле он так же типичен. Иллюзии и мечты, привитые ему в детстве, определяют дальнейшую судьбу молодого человека, охваченного непреодолимым желанием во что бы то ни стало добиться легкой жизни, В образе Клайда писатель акцентировал неустойчивость, податливость влияниям среды. Повествование строится таким образом, что Клайд все время в центре внимания, и вместе с тем четко видны силы, формирующие его характер. «Одних только разговоров в вестибюле, - пишет Драйзер, - не говоря, уже о сценах в баре, в ресторанах я номерах, было достаточно, чтобы внушить каждому неопытному, и не очень разборчивому существу, будто главное занятие в жизни для всякого, у кого есть кой-какие деньги и положение в обществе, - это ходить в театры, детям посещать стадион, танцевать, кататься в автомобиле, угощать друзей обедами и ездить для развлечения в Нью-Йорк, Европу, Чикаго или Калифорнию».
Так раскрывается социальная обусловленность поведения Клайда, который проникается стремлением попасть в этот мир роскоши и богатства. Эти-мечтания определяю и его отношение к Роберте Олден. Вот размышления Клайда: пусть эта девушка бедна и ей, по несчастью, пришлось стать простой работницей, он все равно был бы очень счастлив с нею, но только при одном условии: чтобы не нужно было жениться. Что касается брака, тут честолюбивый Клайд был словно под гипнозом: он женится на девушке из круга Грифитсов! Брак с богатой девушкой казался Клайду путем к исполнению его сокровенных желаний. Карьера для него дороже тех чувств, которые он испытывал к Роберте, - в его сознании любовь неотделима от пышности, удовольствий, богатства, видного положения в обществе. Так создаются предпосылки для трагедии Клайда и Роберты.
В «Американской трагедии» достигается та удивительная художественная цельность, которая отличает истинные произведения искусства. И заглавие романа, и его композиция, в пейзаж, и авторские отступления, и логика развития характеров, и их психология в «Американской трагедии» раскрывают ответственность американского буржуазного общества за трагедию Клайда Грифитса.
Широта социального замысла «Американской трагедии» выявляется и композиция романа, Драйзер писал о композиции «Американской трагедии» в апреле 1931 года: «Этот роман должен представлять в трех различных социальных и экономических сферах карьеру очень чувствительного, но умственно не очень развитого парня, который обнаруживает, что жизнь его в самом начале затруднена бедностью и низким социальным положением, из которых, повинуясь присущим ему желаниям и служащим побудительной силой, он и пытается вырваться». Разъясняя затею своей мысли, Драйзер отмечает, что первая часть книги была посвящена изображению таких социальных невзгод, какие могут естественно подавить, «держать, и расстроить, а следовательно, и усилить эмоции в желания очень чувствительного парня, плохо приспособленного для великой жизненной борьбы, с которой сталкивается любой юноша.
Часть вторая, по словам Драйзера, была специально предназначена, чтобы показать, что такой темперамент может случайно быть поставлен лицом к лицу с гораздо более удачливым мирон, который разовьет в нем стремление к роскоши в любви, я проследить, как в неравном состязании между бедностью, невежеством великими соблазнами мира он может легко в помимо своей воли оказаться побежденным и даже обвиненный в убийстве, как эта и происходит с Грифитсом.
Часть третья была тщательно спланирована Драйзером таким образом, чтобы продемонстрировать, пак такой слабый человек - сначала пленник своих мечтаний, а потом закона - может легко 'стать жертвой одержимых предрассудками и мстительных провинциальных политиканов, которые, в свою очередь, по причине социальной в религиозной ограниченности никак не могут воспринять смягчающие обстоятельства преступления и поэтому, как отмечает Драйзер, судят его куда более жестоко, чем это могли сделать люди более проницательные и умные.
2.3 Clyde's attitude towards to
Итак, первая книга - экспозиция романа - посвящена формированию характера Клайда, вторая - трагической гибели Роберты, третья - гибели Клайда. В основу сюжета положено развитие характера и личности Клайда в его взаимоотношении с обществом. Клайда водит за нос ветреная продавщица Гортензия Бриге. После нескольких встреч Гортензия стала казаться Клайду воплощением всего, что он всегда мечтал найти в девушке. Она была такая живая, гордая, обаятельная и такая хорошенькая. В её глазах казалось ему, плясали огоньки. У неё была необыкновенно соблазнительная манера сжимать и вновь раскрывать губы, равнодушно глядя прямо перед собой, словно вовсе и не думая о Клайде, а его от этого бросало в жар и дрожь. В такие минуты он ощущал слабость, голова шла кругом; по жилам жестко обжигая, пробегали огненные струйки, - это было осознанное желание, мучительное и безысходное.
Развлечения в Канзас-Сити кончаются для Клайда печально, - во время возвращения с вечеринки автомобиль, в котором находились Клайд и его друзья, сбил девочку, а потом, когда напуганные молодые люди пытались скрыться от полиции, произошла автомобильная катастрофа. До смерти перепутанный Клайд бежит из Канзас-Сити, Так заканчивается юность Клайда, который, покинув родительский дом, вступает в самостоятельную жизнь.
b) Roberta Olden
Во второй книге Клайд после мытарств и лишений, которые ему пришлось претерпеть во время странствий по различным городам Америки, попадает под опеку богатого дяди фабриканта. Клайду кажется, что он может, наконец, сделать карьеру. На его пути оказывается Роберта Олден которая работает под его началом и зависит от него, и хотя Роберта отнюдь не относится к числу девушек нестрогих правил, Клайду удается достигнуть того, чего он не смог добиться от многоопытной Гортензии Бриге ни ухаживаниями, ни щедрыми подарками.
Клайд не собирался жениться на Роберте с начала их знакомства. Встреча же с богатой Сандрой Финчли внушила Клайду мысль о возможности вступить в столь желанный для него мир в заставила искать пути отделаться от мешавшей ему. Роберты. Подчеркивая расчетливость Клайда, Драйзер отмечает, что «Роберта больше нравилась ему. Она нежнее, мягче, добрее, не такая ледяная». В то же время Сандра «воплощала и неизмеримо увеличивала в его глазах значение своего круга», и Клайд относился в ней иначе, - «в отличие от того, что он с самого начала испытывал к Роберте, его мысли о Сандре не были чувственными». Если отношение Клайда к Роберте диктовала страсть, то к Сандре его влекли расчет, мысль о богатстве, преклонение перед тем, что он считал высшим светом.
И как богата, и такое видное положение занимает в обществе!
Мышление Клайда всегда было языческим, чуждым всяких условностей; и теперь он всерьез спрашивал себя, почему бы ему не перенести свое внимание с Роберты на Сондру, раз мечты о ней доставляют ему больше удовольствия. Роберта не должна об этом знать. Она не может прочитать его мысли, не может узнать о том, что с ним происходит, если он сам ей не скажет, а он, разумеется, ничего не собирается говорить. Да и что ту! плохого, если он, бедняк, стремится попасть в высшие круги общества? Ведь бывали случаи, когда такие же бедняки женились на богатых девушках вроде Сондры.
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