Naturalism in "Mcteauge" by Frank Norris

Essay by Anonymous UserHigh School, 11th gradeA+, January 1996

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        McTeague, a novel written at the turn of the century by Frank Norris, is a classic

example of naturalist writing. This novel is written with the harsh realities that were this

time period. There are many themes that occur in naturalism. Some of them that appear in

this novel are greed, lust, strife, as well as Darwinism and animal imagery. All of these

themes help Norris describe with vivid detail his tragic account of human degradation.

        One of the forces that drives many characters such is Zerkow, Trina, and

McTeague is greed. Zerkow is an old man who has gold fever. All he ever thinks of is

where he can get some more gold from. When he hear Maria telling her story of the gold

bowls and dinner service he is immediately interested. On page 38 it reads 'It was

impossible to look at Zerkow and not know instantly that greed-inordinate, insatiable greed

-was the dominate passion of the man.'

This shows us that greed is what turns this guys

wheels He ends up marrying her only with the hope that she might be able to locate these

missing riches. When she is unable to find the gold he becomes mad at her and slits her

throat before killing himself. It is possible that he put so much of himself into his greed

that when he could not quell it with the gold he felt his life was not worth living. Trina

shows how greedy she is when she wins the 5,000 in the lottery. She will not spend any

money where it is needed, and because of this the couples standards of living decline.

Although Trina and Zerkows' greed for riches was almost identical, Zerkow is vied as a

lost soul, yet Trina is viewed as a proper young...