June 30, 2021


Gargi Bhattacharya

Assistant Professor  & Head, Department of English, IGNOU, Glory Institute, Muscat, CBD, Oman.   


The article discusses the basic tenets of Naturalism as prevalent in the twentieth in connection with the twenty-first century New Historicism. The concept of “angry young man,” becomes the cult image of the twentieth-century democratic society where the lead characters, or rather the anti-heroes of Osborne, Wesker, Dreiser etc. try to pull down the social mores while striving to make cataclysmic changes in the dogmas and conventions. Society and individuals influence each other and are responsible to each other. Jimmy Porter, the lead character of Osborne’s Look Back in Anger, and Clyde Griffiths, the protagonist of An American Tragedy, are rebellious against all forms of bureaucracy and are not successful to materialize the “American Dream” (Adams, James Truslow, 1931) (1). They are popularly called the anti-heroes because unlike heroes they are successful in life, they are brought up in modest families and struggles for higher education, blames the social codes that are partly responsible for their failures, neither are they powerful enough to change the existing codes but only reveals their sarcastic vituperations. The last section of the essay deals with the philosophy of existentialism with reference to some texts.  The protagonists of these texts however influenced the masses because they became the paradigms of the millions who have tried hard but still failed to live up to their expectations.


naturalism, new-historicism, positivism, anti-hero, existentialism.


Works Cited

Adelaide. Retrieved from

Dreiser, Theodore. (2012). An American Tragedy. Adelaide: The University of Adelaide. Retrieved from

Groden, Michael et al, (Ed.). (1994). The John Hopkins Guide to Literary Theory & Criticism. London: The John Hopkins UP.

Hippolyte A. Taine. (2008). The Ancient Regime. Retrieved from

Inge Leimberg. (2001). Shakespeare De-witched: A Response to Stephen Greenblatt. A Journal for Critical Debate, 11(1), 60-77. Retrieved from

Lodge, David. (Ed.). (2003). Modern Criticism and Theory: A Reader. New Delhi: Pearson Education.

Mark Derdzinski. (2002). Invisible Bullets”: Unseen Potential in Stephen Greenblatt’s New Historicism. Connotations: A Journal for Critical Debate, 11(2-3), 272-290. Retrieved from

Osborne, John. (2004). Look Back in Anger. Delhi: Worldview.

Positivism. (2021). Comte has stated, “Comte stated the idea that man is able to govern himself is what makes this stage innately different from the rest. There is no higher power governing the masses and the intrigue of any one person than the idea that he can achieve anything based on his individual free will and authority.” Retrieved from

Schopenhauer, Arthur. (2011). “On the Sufferings of the World.” 29 Dec. 2011. Retrieved from


To cite this article

Gargi Bhattacharya. (2021). Naturalism in Dreiser & Osborne and Exploring the Existential Angst. John Foundation Journal of EduSpark, 3(2), 1-11.

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