An American Tragedy by Martin Bucco

By Martin Bucco

Known as the best writers at the American scene, Dreiser is additionally 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 aspect and with loyal realism, recounts the dilemmas and offerings of a ''loser''; we watch him ascend to temptation, fall in transgression, and obtain his acceptable 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.

Even after confessing his guilt, Clyde rebels against his judges, for no one--not even his mother--has experienced his particular suffering. Locked within himself and in an iron, mechanical system, Clyde dreams of his end--and so it is: guards push him through a little door, the door quickly closes, and there is no return. In this final powerful climax, Dreiser uses all of his art and craft as a novelist. After the trial, Elvira Griffiths's tractarian faith contrasts with the journalists' skepticism and her brother-in-law's detachment.

Elvira comes to sense the powerful influence of the Green-Davidson, the pleasure-seeking companions, fugitiveness, sexual temptation, and high society on her weak son. She also realizes how little she helped Clyde prepare for life in this world. For his sake, she gives her grandson Russell a dime for ice cream. SAMUEL GRIFFITHS Clyde's uncle, the owner of Griffiths Collar and Shirt Company in Lycurgus, New York, personifies the American Dream realized. He places great value on his good name, his family, his wealth, his possessions, and his status.

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