"America Beckons, Americans Repel": Nativism, Racial Stereotypes, and the Naturalistic Impulse in Frank Norris's McTeague
Muller, Luke B.
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.