"America Beckons, Americans Repel": Nativism, Racial Stereotypes, and the Naturalistic Impulse in Frank Norris's McTeague
Muller, Luke B.
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This thesis explores the ways in which Frank Norris's naturalism in his novel McTeague is at once compromised and sustained by his use of racial stereotypes. I begin by defining the term "nativism," and go on to clarify Norris's relationship to the nativist movement in America. I also suggest that Norris relies on racial stereotyping not only as a strategy for ordering the complex milieu of turn-of-the-century San Francisco, but as a way of limiting his characters' ability to engage their environment in meaningful ways. Moreover, I argue that Norris's use of racial stereotypes is primarily responsible for compromising his naturalism because his stereotypical rendering of ethnic minorities subordinates his belief in objectivity to his ethnocentrism.