The first five chapters of An American Tragedy depict Clyde Griffiths

The first five chapters of An American Tragedy depict Clyde Griffiths

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The first five chapters of  An American Tragedy  depict Clyde Griffiths' fundamentalist upbringing and  describe his early jobs. From the beginning, Clyde is uneasy with his situation. Restless and dreamy,  he resents his parents' religious work in the mission house and on the city streets. He rebels against  his family's poverty, and he dreams of escape and material things. Increasingly, he broods on the  freedom that his runaway sister gained. Moving from one job to another, Clyde feels lost until he  procures a job as a bellhop in a large Kansas City hotel. A new life, a life Clyde has always dreamed  about, seems finally possible. Dreiser bases the conflict between Clyde's paganism and his parents' Puritanism on certain theories  of Jacques Loeb (1859-1924), an American physiologist. In Chapter 3, for instance, the omniscient  narrator elaborates on the idea that materialism or physical matter is the only reality. In this physio- chemical or mechanistic world, physical laws underlie all activity or flux. The individual is trapped in 
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