Date of Award

5-17-2008

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

English

Abstract

This thesis deals with greed and the disposability of the individual in Frank Norris's literary portrayal of capitalism in The Octopus and The Pit. Even though McTeague is Norris's most notable naturalistic work, the first two volumes of his intended wheat trilogy are also significant contributions to American naturalism because of Norris's portrayal of the omnipotence of capitalism on the individual. This thesis focuses on The Octopus and The Pit. In both novels, Norris portrays capitalism as a powerful force on the individual. He shows that capitalism draws out and nourishes people's greed. He also shows that people are expendable under capitalism because there is an endless supply of human replacements.

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