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dc.contributor.authorDawson, Jon Falsarella
dc.description.abstractThe literary output of Frank Norris, Jack London, and John Steinbeck presents characters at the mercy of hereditary and environmental pressures that condition their experiences and opportunities, representations that emphasize the principals’ limited ability to impact their material circumstances. In many texts, these Naturalist writers connect this theme to conventional formulations of the American Dream, which holds that people can attain financial security or perhaps even wealth through diligent labor. Significantly, these novelists drew on important events from California history in their handling of these concerns. From the Mussel Slough Affair of 1880, which provided the basic plot for Norris’s The Octopus (1901), to the cotton strike of 1933 that Steinbeck incorporated into In Dubious Battle (1936), these occurrences inform the authors’ portrayals of the institutional forces that determine the range of action available to the protagonists. The treatment of these issues further illuminates the social criticism that informed these works and their depiction of economic Determinism. This project will augment the existing scholarship on Naturalism by analyzing the immediate sources that Norris, London, and Steinbeck used for their major novels and investigating how they shaped this material into illustrations of the causative agents that undermine the realization of individual potential.
dc.subjectAmerican Dream
dc.subjectAmerican Literature
dc.subjectAmerican Naturalism
dc.subject“The Apostate”
dc.subject“The Dream of Debs”
dc.subjectThe Grapes of Wrath
dc.subjectIn Dubious Battle
dc.subjectThe Iron Heel
dc.subjectJack London
dc.subjectMartin Eden
dc.subjectFrank Norris
dc.subjectThe Octopus
dc.subjectJohn Steinbeck
dc.titleThe California Naturalists
dc.title.alternativeFrank Norris, Jack London, and John Steinbeck
dc.description.advisorJames Nagel
dc.description.committeeJames Nagel
dc.description.committeeHugh Ruppersburg
dc.description.committeeRichard Menke

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