Before Theodore Dreiser was born, his father, a devout German immigrant, lost everything when his large wool mill burned down (kirjasto.sci.fi 1). After a beam hit his head, Dreiser's father was subject to dramatic mood swings; this brain damage caused him to became an evangelist (Survey of American Literature 571). Theodore Dreiser, the twelfth of 13 children, was born in Terre Haute, Indiana, in 1871. By this time, his parents were poor, nomadic preachers. Their nomadic lifestyle meant that Dreiser did not have any companions outside his family. While travelling, his mother taught him to avoid degrading and destructive experiences (Hart 236). Certain that his parents were failures because of their strong morals and their constant preaching, he rebelled. Dreiser had no friends, money, social status, or sex life, which he craved. For most Americans, these were collectively "The American Dream." For Dreiser and his most famous character, Clyde Griffiths, living the American Dream -- the evasive pinnacle of success -- became an obsession.
That obsession led 13-year old Dreiser to Indiana University, which he flunked out of. Instead of preaching, he instantly abandoned his unsuccessful family for the promise of riches and women in industrial Chicago. After living in abject poverty for years (Parker 203), he worked as a journalist for both Chicago Globe and St. Louis's Globe-Democrat, which gave him a glimpse of high society. There, he married Sara White. Within months, the two separated permanently, and Dreiser became a... [continues]
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(1999, 10). An American Tragedy and the Futility of the American Dream. StudyMode.com. Retrieved 10, 1999, from http://www.studymode.com/essays/American-Tragedy-Futility-American-Dream-15203.html
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