Naturalism In Donna Cambell's Tracks

3411 Words14 Pages
In her paper “American Literary Naturalism: Critical Perspectives,” Donna Campbell writes that “the history of American naturalism is far from a completed chapter in literary history” (511). As a movement initially dominated by white men beginning in the late nineteenth-century, it has grown to include women as well as African, Native, and Ethnic Americans. Still more impressively, recent scholarship has helped “to shape a new and more inclusive conception of naturalism,” (Campbell 508). As a result, current forms of naturalism incorporate “theories of race and gender, economics, cultural critique, and postcolonialism” (Campbell 500). This in turn has led to new areas of study which include the ideas of “space and place, or encounters with the environment” and “corporeality, or coming to terms with the body” (Campbell 508). It is within this context of recent scholarly work that naturalism is seen in the novel Tracks , written by Native American author, Louise Erdrich. A characteristic of naturalism, determinism manifests itself in Tracks through depictions of the “brute”, quests for power and wealth, and the portrayals of deterioration and violence.
Tracks is a novel about the on-going struggles Native Americans face in their efforts to preserve their land and culture. Set in North Dakota during the early part
…show more content…
In a paper entitled “American Literary Naturalism: A Passage to Modernity,” Paul Binford writes that the quest for power and wealth serves as one of the major themes of naturalist novels (180). For some of the characters in this novel, this quest is what drives them. The Morissey serve as a good example for though they are of mixed blood, they ultimately take advantage of their Native American brethren. Pauline in fact describes them as “well-off people, mixed-bloods who profited from acquiring allotments that many old Chippewa did not know how to keep” (Erdrich
Open Document