Suicidal naturalism: Self-murder in late nineteenth-century American literature
"Suicidal Naturalism: Self-Murder in Late-Nineteenth Century American Literature" seeks to clarify the characteristics of American Literary Naturalism by studying instances of suicide in American literature that has come to be considered Naturalist. The study first presents suicide as a formidable genre in American literature worth consideration. The thesis also contains in review of the evolving attitudes toward suicide in America from colonial times to the late nineteenth century. The work proceeds to provide defining aspects of Naturalist literature. Four works containing both the characteristics of American Naturalism and an instance of suicide in the plot are analyzed. These works include: "Life in the Iron Mills" by Rebecca Harding Davis, which is argued to be one of the earliest occurrences of American Naturalism; Maggie: A Girl of the Streets by Stephen Crane, which is described as classic Naturalism; Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser, which is described as prototypical Naturalism; The Story of a Country Town by Edgar Watson Howe, another early instance of American Naturalism and an example of Naturalism in the American frontier as opposed to the city.