Dangerous and indifferent ground: naturalism and regionalism in Annie Proulx's fictional realm
Daniel, Maja Katarzyna
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This doctoral dissertation attempts to prove the validity of naturalism in the last decade of the twentieth century and the first one of the twenty-first century in America, taking as example Annie Proulx's fiction. Apart from displaying incidences of the genre of naturalism in Proulx's selected works, the notion of place and region will play a crucial role in this dissertation; the author's narrative will also be ascribed to the category of literary regionalism.With reference to the methodology, genre studies will be one of the frameworks. Therefore, genre criticism will be applied, for in this study, naturalism is understood as a literary form and, more precisely, as a genre. The second general methodological framework applied in this dissertation is the one related to cultural studies, and more precisely, the one focusing on place and region.The texts selected to the analysis are: Heart Songs and Other Stories and Postcards, set in New England, Shipping News, representing Newfoundland settings, and the third group, displaying the image of the American West: Close Range: Wyoming Stories, Bad Dirt: Wyoming Stories 2, Fine Just the Way It Is: Wyoming Stories 3 and That Old Ace in the Hole.The conclusion is that in the majority of cases the stories are built on a naturalistic approach to the forces of nature as determining the character's lot, although the factor of contingency in their lives is present as well. The importance of the environment, of the surrounding society's collective characteristics and the historical context its members happened to live in, taking into account the contemporary socio-economic situation, are crucial and inestimable for the analyzed texts plots.