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American Naturalism & Jack London(1876-1916) John Griffith
Industrialization: The spread of industrialization created extremes of wealth and poverty. Slums areas like Bowery, New York appeared where poor people lived and where there were crimes, murder, diseases, violence and all the worst things in the world. Life became a struggle for survival. Farmers: Farmers were still going westward, but frontiers were about the close. People were doomed to have no more land. They had to depend on the transcontinental railway to transport their products, therefore, railway became their master. Farmers were caught in the grip of the railway company.
The spread of Darwin's theory of evolution changed people's ideology "the theories of 'survival by social selection' and 'survival of the fittest'". Living in an indifferent, cold and Godless world, man was no longer free. People's outlook toward life became pessimistic.
Naturalism was a new and harsher realism. It developed on the basis of realism but went a step further than it in portraying social reality. Thematically, naturalistic writers wrote detailed descriptions of the lives of the downtrodden and of the abnormal had frank treatment of human passion and sexuality were concerned about how men and women were overwhelmed by the forces of environment and by the forces of heredity
Technically, naturalistic writers made detailed documentation of life: nothing but the truth, more naked and wicked than realities created gloomy and pessimistic atmosphere American Naturalism first came into existence in Maggie, a Girl of the Streets by Stephen Crane, then had its manifesto in McTeague by Frank Norris, and later came to its maturity in Sister Carrie by Theodore Dreiser.
About the author(1) 1)
It is believed that London is an illegitimate child, who passed his childhood in poverty in the Oakland slums. He had little formal schooling, but was an avid reader, educating himself at public libraries. At the age of 17, he ventured to sea on a sealing ship and from then on to voyages on ship became one of his favorites and material for his later writing. In his teens, he joined Coxey’s Army in its famous march on Washington, D.C., and was later arrested for vagrancy(流浪罪). The turning point of his life was a thirty-day imprisonment that was so degrading it made him decide to turn to education and pursue a career in writing.
About the author(2) 4)
His years in the Klondike a Gold Prospector (from 1897-1898 ) had to be ended because of his poor health, which would provide abundant material for his future novels and stories . Upon his return to Oakland, California, he could not find steady work. In desperation, he decided to dive into writing, launching his writing career. Jack married two times in his life. The first wife is his math tutor and the second one his secretary.But two
marriages were not happy and ended in failure.
About the author(3) 7)
From 1905 to 1913, London set up his own “Beauty Ranch” totaling 1,400 acres bought. At Beauty Ranch, he raised many animals such as prize bulls, horses, and pigs and cultivated a wide variety of crops, fully enjoying the life of a rancher. By his death at age forty on November 22, 1916, Jack had been plagued for years by a vast number of health problems, including stomach disturbances, ravaging uremia, and failing kidneys.
His masterpiece: The Call of the Wild The Sea Wolf Martin Eden White Fang Many people argue as to what London's masterpiece was. Some say The Call of the Wild, others say The Sea Wolf, and still others say Martin Eden.
The Call of the Wild 野性的呼唤 1) The Call of the Wild is thrilling adventure story set in the Yukon frontier, telling the gripping tale of a dog named Buck who is wrenched out of his life of ease and luxury to become a sled dog in Alaska. Drawing on his wolf heritage, Buck must fight for survival in an alien environment, experiencing both the cruelty of man and the freedom of the wild.
《野性的呼唤》讲述一条家狗变成一只野狼的故事。 主人公是一条名叫 “巴克”的狗，在被拐卖前，它是 法官米勒家中一条养尊处优的驯养犬，过着无忧无虑 的生活；然而，在被拐卖到严酷的北方之后，不得不 面对一个完全不同的世界。
在极其恶劣的现实环境中，它显示出了强烈的生存欲 望，并由这种欲望主宰，设法克服一切难以想象的困 难，成为一只适应荒野生存规律和竞争规律的雪橇狗， 最终还响应荒野的召唤，回归了自然。
The Sea-Wolf 2)
The Sea-Wolf was based on his experiences at sea. When fate lands Humphrey Van Weyden on board the Ghost, a sealing schooner(帆船) bound for Japan, little does he know of the weeks of brutality which lie ahead. Captain Wolf Larsen is feared and despised by all on board, and only the chance arrival of Maud Brewster spurs Van Weyden into action in a desperate attempt to free them both from the terrifying power of the SeaWolf. 在《海狼》一书中，杰克・伦敦叙述了一个内心里“人 性”与“兽性”交战不已的孤独男子的故事。许多评论 家认为，书中那位船长，――海狼劳森，从许多方面来 说，就是杰克・伦敦自身的写照。
Martin Eden 马丁.伊登 a. Martin Eden, an uneducated, rough, young sailor
happens to save Arthur Morse, a son of a wealthy lawyer. Hence, he is invited to be a guest in the Morse’s. There, he is marveled at the noble and intellectual life of the Morse and falls in love with Arthur’s sister, Ruth. Since then he has the strong desire to be civilized and to win Ruth’s heart. To fulfill this, he begins to form a life style that he considers a civilized man should have, and read numerous books borrowed from the public library.
b. After gaining certain knowledge and selfimprovement through his hard work, the very idea of being a writer comes to his mind on a sailing voyage. For his great ambition, he only has 4 or 5 hours’ sleep each day, spending most of his time studying and writing. c. But he doesn’t get any financial reward from his hard work, his manuscripts returns to him without acceptance. His situation could not have been any worse as to become too poor to have meals. People around him despise him, Ruth also urges him to give up writing and take other jobs.
d. Anyway, Martin insists and keeps toiling. His later visits to the Morse’s convince him that he has had the wrong impression about the higher society and the Morse’s refusal for his coming to their house, together with Ruth’s break with him give him a fatal blow. He stops writing while continues to send the publisher his manuscripts that have been rejected before. E. In the end, Martin’s works are widely accepted after one of his manuscripts has been published accidentally. Martin soon gains large amounts of wealth and fame. Nevertheless, the fact that those who refused to be a friend with him when he was in acute hanger all come to him and compete to invite him to dinner. He becomes disillusioned with everything in life, and manages to stop Ruth’s attempt to rebuild their relationship. Finding out he is unable to lead an aimless life, Martin commits suicide on a voyage
《马丁·伊登》是杰克·伦敦的代表作，带有自传性质。 主人公马丁·伊登原是一个年轻的普通水手。一次偶 然的机会，他结识了银行家莫斯的女儿罗丝。他崇拜 罗丝的纯洁高雅，而罗丝也被他的粗野不羁所吸引。 在爱情的鼓舞下，马丁刻苦读书，发奋写作。但他们 的感情遭到了莫斯夫妇的反对，罗丝同马丁断绝了来 往。后来马丁以极大的毅力获得了成功，成为名作家。 原先对他不屑一顾的人都对他另眼相看。罗丝也想重 修旧好，被马丁愤然拒绝。然而马丁跻身于上流社会 后，却看透了资产者的自私和虚伪，在幻灭的痛苦中 投海自杀。
Appreciating Martin Eden
Characterization Martin Eden: dreamer, intelligent, industrious, ambitious, individual, quite sensitive with his pride and inferiority a. the portrait of Jack London: (less noble birth, the process of struggle, the success, committing suicide) b. the practioner of Nitzschean Superman c. the tragedy of Intellectuals (叔本华的《人生的苦恼》） d. the origin of American dream
Martin’s dream and disillusion
Martin’s dream is to climb to the upper class and win Ruth’s heart. The problem of his dream is he idealizes the upper class to a paradise of civilization and Ruth to a perfect angel. Setting an unrealistic goal like this, Martin is destined to fail. On the way of reaching his dream, Martin makes progress step by step, his effort is evident.
Because Martin is aware that the society is not what he expected to be, Ruth is just a representative of the bourgeoisie. Martin collapses with his broken dream. Being wealthy and civilized does not enable Martin a place to stand, on the contrary, it makes Martin trapped in the mind chaos. To Martin, the only way to salvation is to escape from this earth forever.
American Naturalism & Jack London(1876-1916) John Griffith
Characterization of Ruth
Ruth: the daughter of the upper class, goodlooking, well-educated, timeserving She was the certain product of her family and of that time, though often criticized for her abandoning Martin Eden (in poverty and in fruitless in his writing) and returning to Eden (in big noise). Ruth should be pitied from the feminist ideas.(Virginia Woolf, Helene Cixous, Simon De Beauvior)
英国的弗吉尼亚沃尔夫 《A Room Of Her Own》 女人需要一间“自己的房间”，代表女性要有自 己独立思考的空间和独立的经济地位。 法国的女性主义者西苏提出“二元论”（男人∕女 人， 主动性∕被动性，太阳∕月亮， 父亲∕母亲）
等对立的概念，女性处于被动从属的地位，被 剥夺了话语权。 法国的波芙娃认为：“经济上对男性的依附决 定女性为了生存要取悦男性，形成了以男性为 中心的父权制社会）
Economic dependence Was deprived of the right of speak Subordinate to her father and brother Victim of Patriarchy society
The inequality of social class The breakdown of American Dream Martin Eden, Sister Carrie, The Great Gatsby are all about American Dream.
Jack London (1878-1916) witnessed the change of the American society from free competition to monopoly capitalism. In Martin Eden, he criticized the dark side of the American society and hypocrisy of the capitalists. Capitalists such as the banker, the lawyer, and the judge who appeared to be decent and civilized were in fact selfish money lovers. The publishing institutions boasted to be fair and authoritative were actually corrupted and deceitful. For people lived at the bottom of the society, the chance to be rich by paying honest efforts, although exist, is extremely slim. The gap between the poor and the rich can not be bridged in such circumstances. Thus a dream to lead a better life would be only foam, which is easily broken.