Love's labor's regained: the making of companionate marriages in Frank Norris's The Pit.
Our marriages are only saved from disaster--when they are saved at all--by a readjustment from the fictive romantic basis on to something more stable, but change is usually painful, troublesome, and imperfect, generally leaving the feeling on both sides of disillusionment. --Havelock Ellis, "The Future of Marriage" But I believe in companionship, I believe that between man and woman that is the great thing--companionship. --Page to Landry in The Pit
Published posthumously in January of 1903, Frank Norris's last novel became an instant success. During the first year alone, The Pit went through five editions, selling a total of 95,914 copies. The book's critical reception was equally enthusiastic. Reviewed in all major newspapers and every important literary magazine, The Pit was not merely compared to the best of Emile Zola's works but hailed as "the real American Novel" (McElrath and Knight 181). If The Octopus had established Norris as "the American Zola," a reviewer for the New York Herald mused, "in The Pit [sic] he is more the prophet of a new dispensation" and "becomes distinctly the founder of a new school, which may preclude a French Norris" (192). Though primarily praised for the "strong lights" The Pit "throws" on the workings of the Chicago Board of Trade, critics also noted that "the love story is a vital and engrossing part of the book" and commended "the skill with which these themes are developed and brought to a smashing climax" (189, 191). In Norris's The Pit, another reviewer wrote, "[h]eart interest combines as logically and inevitably with business as with the other occupations" (188).
Since the late 1940s, however, the critical contention that The Pit "is more convincing than the Octopus, more pleasing than McTeague, more dramatic than any of Mr. Norris's other works" has undergone a sharp reversal (189). Unlike most earlier readers, who had seen Jadwin and Laura Curtis's marital struggles as an important aspect of Norris's "philosophical study of certain phases in American life," formalist New Critics have argued almost unanimously that the marriage plot "seems unrelated to the novel's epic theme of nature's power and benevolence" (McElrath and Knight 197, Pizer 175). (1) For Charles Walcutt, the major ".aw" of The Pit lies in Laura's disturbing presence, which somehow upsets the novel's structural and thematic unity. "Obviously," Walcutt states,
she is there merely as a foil to set off the great struggle in the Pit to show the other side of Jadwin's public failure. Thus the story breaks completely in two when Norris devotes considerable time to her connection with Sheldon Corthell, the understanding artist to whom she goes for comfort when Jadwin is deserting her more and more for the Pit. (153-54)
And not only does Norris attempt to unite the disparate themes of love and business, Ernest Marchand complains, but he actually "allow[s] the love story to gain the upper hand" (120). What ultimately accounts for "the failure of The Pit," Donald Pizer concludes in The Novels of Frank Norris, "is not a crudely attached 'happy ending'" but the novel's inability "to rise above the Laura-Jadwin relationship" (177). Further, "concurring with most critics of Frank Norris's last work" that "the plots of marriage and speculation should be incompatible," Howard Horowitz maintains that "the novel's true failing" is marked by its "search for harmony" (215-16).
Though many critics still seem to agree "that the imaginative vitality of The Pit cannot compare with that of either McTeague or The Octopus," several more recent studies, influenced by feminist scholarship, have begun to emphasize the novel's domestic plot (Hochman 99). Rather than reading The Pit as a failed attempt to reveal "the inherent dynamics of a capitalist economy"(Mitchell 539), Barbara Hochman discerns beneath Jadwin's and Laura's marital troubles an anxious search for stable identities. "[T]he central problem for Laura as for Jadwin," Hochman asserts, "is that of The Pit as a whole: how to integrate or realize a self and a relationship that will be proof against internal and external chaos" (111). In a similar vein, Joseph McElrath and Gwendolyn Jones, stressing what Pizer has identified as the "humanistic strain" in literary naturalism, (2) claim that "the Laura-Curtis relationship was for Norris the microcosmic embodiment of the macrocosmic malaise in the American economy, and its 'cure' was seen in the modification freely made in their relationship" (xxv). (3) Focusing more specifically on the construction of gender roles in late nineteenth-century America, Clare Virginia Eby contends that the "two plots of The Pit illustrate 'double identity' on the narrative level, but unlike ideologically conservative texts that reinscribe the dominant gender roles to avoid facing cultural change, The Pit locates obstacles to achieving identity within the roles themselves" (158).
Aside from questions of purely aesthetic merit, what seems most striking about the reception of The Pit is that modern critics tend to foreground either the novel's "naturalistic" representation of public business relations or the novel's "sentimental" depiction of private domestic relations. Thus, whereas critics such as Pizer, Mitchell, and most of all Horowitz contend that the Curtis-Laura relationship steers The Pit away from a strictly naturalistic analysis of unbridled stock market speculation until it eventually turns into pure escapism, (4) critics such as Hochman, McElrath, and especially Eby stress that it is precisely through the depiction of Jadwin's and Laura's domestic relations that Norris manages both to assert "notions of freedom of choice" and to "critically interrogate turn-of-the-century assumptions of gender roles" (Eby 150).
That contemporary reviewers had apparently fewer problems accepting the novel's representation of Laura's fight to strip herself of outdated notions about romantic love before the backdrop of Jadwin's heroic yet disastrous endeavor to corner the wheat market points to the need for a more historicized interpretation of Norris's project in The Pit. For read within the socio-economical context of the early twentieth century--most notably the progessivist critique of capitalist individualism and what Christopher Lasch has called "the crisis of the family"--it becomes apparent that naturalized "notions of freedom of choice," normalized "ethical responsibility," and an acute sense of "cultural change" underlie the marriage as well as the business plot (3, 21). To cursorily dismiss "Norris' idea of woman as a self-sacrificing helpmate to a man of action" as a regrettable structural weakness would mean to overlook The Pit's political function within the larger progessivist discourse of early twentieth-century America (Pizer 178). By the same token, to valorize Norris's liberal progressivism on grounds that The Pit "affirms the interdependence of men and women, illustrates connections between realms often seen as separate, and suggests that a successful marriage is more important than an action-adventure plot" would mean to disregard the extent to which "early twentieth century culture co-opted many feminist issues by linking personal identity and fulfillment with companionate marriage, [monogamous] heterosexual pleasure, motherhood as a career, and consumerism" (Eby 167, Laslett and Brenner 395).
The novel's alignment with early muckraking works such as Henry Demarest Lloyd's Wealth against Commonwealth (1894), which castigated the socially counterproductive selfishness of so-called "robber barons," becomes perhaps most obvious in chapter IV, when Charles Cressler exposes Laura to "the workings of political economy," elucidating in no uncertain terms that "the food of hundreds and hundreds of thousands of people [is] at the mercy of a few men down there on the Board of Trade" (115-16). Of course, in the end the moralist Cressler himself is dragged to the bottom of the swirling pit. Yet, Cressler's fatal involvement in stock manipulation does not so much bespeak the destructive power of man's gambling instinct as his personal failure to adhere to the new social tenets of political economy and to lead what social reformers of the day called "a sober-satisfying everyday life" (Lasch 6). Furthermore, Calvin Crookes's sneering remark that "it was the wheat itself that beat" Jadwin notwithstanding, Landry Court's assessment that Jadwin "could have won if they all hadn't turned against him that day" clearly anticipates J.P. Morgan's public announcement in 1908 that "old-fashioned economic competition had given way to the spirit of co-operation" (347, 365, italics added). In other words, the primitive naturalistic contention of the "defeated Bull" that "the wheat cornered [him], not [h]e the wheat," is just as obsolete and delusional as his wife's erstwhile hope to attain pure romantic bliss with the effeminate artist Sheldon Corthell (368).
Not coincidentally, the economic "spirit of co-operation," which had originated in the populist movement and began to gradually supplant "classic individualism" at the turn of the century, also undergirds the novel's redefinitions of both woman- and manliness as well as its endorsement of modern companionate marriage (Filene 84). (5) As will be shown in greater detail below, The Pit actively intervenes in contemporary debates concerning the proper, socio-economic relationship between the sexes, drawing heavily on progressive theories that were popularized by the new schools of psychology, sociology, and sexology. Rather than merely describing a new reality that had begun to destabilize Victorian assumptions about morality and the social division of labor, The Pit partakes in the ongoing reconstruction of turn-of-the-century gender roles, which was largely impelled by the rapid encroachment of the so-called "new woman" upon the heretofore exclusively male-dominated spheres of business, law, and politics. Moreover, far from simply attempting to recover an "Edenic money economy" or to proffer a naive household "cure" for the "macrocosmic malaise in the American economy," The Pit endeavors to reassert, redefine, and recuperate male authority vis-a-vis increasingly vocal female demands for sexual emancipation, easier divorce laws, suffrage, and economic self-determination (Horowitz 233, McElrath and Jones xxiii). (6)
As Bert Bender has shown, under the mentorship of Joseph Le Conte, Frank Norris had become fascinated by Darwin's theory of sexual selection and thus based his idealized representation of modern courtship rituals in The Pit on the idea of a "transcendent evolutionary love" that strives toward altruism and sexless companionship (89). Meanwhile, though, Darwin's theories on sexual selection were being repudiated not only by conservatives but by progressive feminists as well. (7) Perceiving that Darwin's ruminations about evolutionary gender differentiation in The Descent of Man (1871) bolstered patriarchal claims to male dominance, prominent feminists such as Charlotte Perkins Gilman and Eliza Burt Gamble reworked Darwin's theories so as to declare women the prime beneficiaries of social evolution. (8) "The theory of evolution, as enunciated by scientists," Gamble asserted in The Evolution of Woman: An Inquiry into the Dogma of Her Inferiority to Man, "furnishes much evidence going to show that the female among all the orders of life, man included, represents a higher stage of development than the male" (v-vi). According to Gamble, evolution has left man inherently competitive, egotistical, and aggressive, whereas it has pushed woman--in her role as primary caregiver--up the evolutionary scale toward an innate understanding of the need for human temperance, magnanimity, and cooperation. Henceforth, given the ruthless competitiveness and the unequal distribution of wealth that characterize modern socio-economic relations within male-dominated society, the admission of women into the realms of politics and economics had become no less than a social imperative (Gamble 78). "As women become free," concludes Gilman in Women and Economics, "so becomes possible the full social combination of individuals in collective industry" (145).
Norris, it seems, was not unreceptive to the feminist evolutionary claim that women must actively engage themselves in improving men beyond the mere selection process. After all, even Darwin had acknowledged that women possessed "greater tenderness" as a result of their nurturing instincts and noted that male competitiveness betimes "too easily" turned "into selfishness" (563). But Norris's affirmation of "the interdependence of men and women" upholds rather than subverts the nineteenth-century ideology of separate spheres (Eby 167). (9) For unlike Gilman and Gamble, who demanded a public role for the emerging "new woman," Norris leaves no doubt in The Pit that the cultivating female influence must remain confined to the domestic sphere, wherein women are "to point [men] straight, and to show them how to lead that other kind of life that isn't all grind" (112). "It's the indirect influence I'm thinking of," a wooing Jadwin explains to Laura, "the indirect influence that a beautiful, pure-hearted, noble-minded woman spreads around her where she goes" (112, italics added). (10) Ultimately, then, "by "protecting [Laura's] model marriage from the evolutionary evil identified in" Sheldon Corthell's name, Norris not just affirms "his faith in ... the female's power to select" the strongest male, but moreover represents companionate marriage as an evolutionary mandated form of relationship that portends an end to both cutthroat capitalism and strained gender relations (Bender 93). Mindful of Michel Foucault's observation that the deployment of both popular and professionalized discourses on sexual identity and gender relations in the nineteenth century instituted new forms of social control, (11) the present study aims to show how Norris's The Pit adapts rapidly changing middle-class concepts of womanliness, manliness, and sex in an effort to promote companionate marriage as the grantor of social health and economic stability within modern American society.
By the end of the nineteenth century, American newspapers, magazines, and lecterns abounded with speculations concerning the demise of familial and marital structures within a rapidly changing society. Columnists, social commentators, and psychologists alike tended to attribute this perceived disintegration of familial and marital ties primarily to the new growth in personal freedom among women that had so far failed to produce a new awareness of moral responsibility. The mounting sense of an imminent national crisis had been precipitated by several developments, most conspicuously (1) the dramatic rise of divorce rates, (2) declining birthrates among native-born whites, (3) the public emergence of the "new woman," and (4) the "revolution in morals." (12)
Despite the passage of more and more stringent divorce laws, the number of legal separations increased fivefold between 1870 and 1920. This rise in divorces was compounded by a growing number of educated Americans who remained single. Turn-of-the-century surveys indicated that fewer than 40 percent of university-trained women married, and roughly 30 percent of college-educated men were still single between the ages of 40 and 50. Meanwhile, the birthrate sank from an average of 7 children per household in 1800 to a mere 3.56 (Mintz and Kellogg 110). Among white middle-class couples this decline was even sharper, prompting Theodore Roosevelt to proclaim in 1903 that Americans were committing "race suicide" (Filene 43).
More alarming still was the newly identified "restlessness" and "irritability" among the nation's women, who had begun to venture beyond the confines of their homes. (13) These so-called "new women" flocked to college, founded social clubs and political organizations--such as the Daughters of the American Revolution (1890), the National Congress of Parents and Teachers (1897), and the National Consumer's League (1899)--entered not only the workforce, but also invaded the ranks of professionals, pioneered charity, settlement, and social work, and openly campaigned for suffrage, easier divorce laws, and birth control.
Condemnation of the "new woman" was swift. Blame for the presumed disruption of family life was habitually laid before her doorsteps. The "devouring ego in the 'new woman,'" Anna A. Rogers fulminated in The Atlantic Monthly, has fostered "the latter-day cult of individualism; the worship of the brazen self" (292). In the same article, Rogers identifies three causes for the rising frequency of divorce in America: "(1) Women's failure to realize that marriage is her work in the world. (2) Her growing individualism. (3) Her lost art of giving, replaced by a highly developed receptive faculty" (290). The American woman has achieved "great personal freedom," Rogers contends, yet she has not learned how to manage it--"it is still largely a useless, uneasy facto, vouchsafing her very little more peace than it does those in her immediate surcharged vicinity" (292) Unless she "merge[s] her fate with her husbands," accepts her "responsibility for home-happiness," and realizes that marriage "is her business," the modern woman "does not properly supplement their lives" and, while "striving for a detached profitless individuality" may even affect "a big economic loss somewhere in our development," Rogers concludes in unison with many observers of her time (294-97).
Another troubling aspect of the "new woman's" gain of personal freedom in the eyes of numerous social analysts was the so-called "moral revolution," which found public expression in the advocacy of divorce, reproductive control, "trial marriages," "semi-detached marriages," "serial marriages," et cetera. Ironically, it was the "purity crusade" of the 1880s and 1890s against prostitution, sexually transmitted diseases, and lewd sexual practices among the lower classes that had contributed to the moral revolution among the middle classes at the turn of the century. As Mintz and Kellogg highlight,
this crusade--which enlisted the support of many physicians, educators, municipal reformers, psychologists, sociologists, and social workers--broke the veil of silence that had surrounded discussions of sexuality during the nineteenth century and inspired pioneering efforts in sex research and sex education. For the first time, women's sexuality was publicly acknowledged. (112)
While many defenders of the family responded to these changes in gender roles and sexual mores by sternly reasserting Victorian values, a small but influential group of feminists, political radicals, psychologists, evolutionary biologists, and sociologists began to advocate a "new" pragmatic morality, more compatible with modern capitalist society. Though opposed to what they saw as the overly restrictive, patriarchal, joyless, and--given the demands of industrial capitalism--outdated model of the Victorian family, however, few among these "experts" proclaimed the equality of the sexes or strove to do away with monogamous, heterosexual marriages. Instead, they gave shape to a new conception of the "companionate marriage" in which husband and wife would interact as friends and partners. Marriage, which was romanticized by Victorian morality as a way of overcoming man's "animal nature," was now to be a source of emotional growth, personal accomplishment, and a well-balanced life. Especially for women, the new ideal of a mutually caring, companionate marriage was typically defined in terms of "maturity, happiness, and mental health" (Laslett and Brenner 393). Just as the woman's new "multifaceted role of sexual partner, companion, playmate, and therapist" would lead to fulfillment, so headache, restlessness, schizophrenia, hysteria, and other symptoms of maladjustment among "new women" would be eradicated through companionate marriages, progressive psychologists counseled (Lasch 11). The tremendous psychological pressures that industrial society exerts over the individual, Rafford Pyke underscored in his 1902 article, "Husband and Wife," demand both "physical" and "psychical reciprocity" in modern marriage:
Marriage to-day is becoming more and more dependent for its success upon the adjustment of conditions that are psychical. Whereas in former generations it was sufficient that the union should involve physical reciprocity, in this age of ours the union must involve a psychic reciprocity as well. And whereas, heretofore, the community of interest was attained with ease, it is now becoming far more difficult because of the tendency to discourage a woman who marries from merging her separate individuality in her husband's. (33)
Early advocates of companionate marriage such as Pyke systematically recast notions of sexual difference by constructing marital relations as an emotional partnership between individuals presumed to have similar interests and needs. Urbanization and the growth of industrial society had undermined the family's traditional economic, educational, religious, and welfare functions so that the Victorian ideology of separate spheres seemed no longer tenable without modification. As the boundary between public and private life appeared to vanish, and as the previously autonomous institution of marriage became incorporated into industrial society at large, women's services to men were no longer rooted in religion and morality, but in the pragmatic sciences of psychology and mental health. Thus, just as the health of large business corporations required the modern white-collar worker to merge his separate interests with those of his employer, the health of modern marriages required the "new woman" to merge "her separate individuality in her husband's."
Hand-in-hand with this new emphasis on mental health, "psychical reciprocity," and the "merging of separate individuality" within companionate marriage came a sharp attack on romantic love. Notions of romantic love, many progressives believed, created intolerably high expectations that modern marriages could and should no longer meet. "Our marriages," Havelock Ellis argued in The Psychology of Sex,
are only saved from disaster--when they are saved--by a readjustment from the fictive romantic basis on to something more stable.... The divorce movement ... has helped to fortify the romantic view of marriage; it has concentrated attention on the erotic side of marriage as though that were not only a highly important element but the sole content of marriage, and its diversion an adequate reason for dissolving the union. (qtd. in Lindesy and Wainwright 280)
According to Christopher Lasch, in the minds of many fin-de-siecle reformers,
romantic love was associated with illusions, dangerous fantasies, and disease; with consumptive heroines, heroes wasting away with feverish desire, and deathbed farewells; with overwrought, unhealthy music of Wagner, Strauss, and Puccini. Romantic love threatened both psychic and physical stability. (11-12)
Against the sentimental, self-indulgent, and socially destructive rhetoric of romance, marriage experts and sexologists such as Ellis deployed the scientific language of personal interaction, conflict management, and healing.
At the same time that social experts recast traditional notions of what it meant to be a well-adjusted "womanly woman," new and equally conflicting ideas concerning the "manliness" of men gained currency. As John Higham has shown in his influential essay, "The Reorientation of American Culture in the 1890s," one of the most significant American cultural constructs at the turn of the century was a growing cult of masculinity, attended by the insecurities of middle-class men about their own "virility" and "manliness" (79). Citing the growing popularity of boxing and football, disaffection from sentimental fiction, Theodore Roosevelt's call for "a strenuous life," the resurgence of Nativism, and the rise of U.S. imperialism, Higham demonstrates that American culture was obsessed with an "urge to be young, masculine, and adventurous" (79).
Before long, however, this cult of masculinity was attended by a subtle redefinition of "manliness" that was grounded in a critique of unbridled individualism and materialism. Fin-de-siecle magazine writers continued to celebrate the Napoleonic virtues of the businessmen, who stood "as a model of individualistic success" (Filene 80). But more and more so men were also "being accused of woeful misrule" (Filene 83). In 1901, for instance, the editor of Harper's Magazine--echoing Gamble's and Gilman's feminist evolutionary arguments--denounced "the hideously egoistic and erroneous development of our commercial civilization" as well as "the brutal and entirely man-made condition" in the world (qtd. in Filene 83). Along similar lines, a woman reader complained to The Independent that "the American man is losing his own soul.... He prostitutes his energy, vigor, and courage to one sole end--materialistic success. Mammonalatry is the great American religion" (qtd. in Filene 83).
Increasingly, men were expected to be less preoccupied with making money and to take a greater interest in domestic affairs. As a writer for Harper's Bazaar complained in 1900, "[t]he suburban husband and father is almost entirely a Sunday institution" (qtd. in Filene 86). In the minds of social reformers such as James Canfield, this was an unnatural situation that pointed to the very roots of America's social malaise. Advocating the benefits of a healthy family life for men in a Cosmopolitan article, Canfield listed "three controlling desires of every normal man": (1) "his home must be more than a shelter," (2) "he must be able to make his house a home by adding a hearth," and (3) "there is no hearth for a man but the heart of a woman" (10-11). While the "manly" man still had to embody the virile and "strenuous life" of a "rugged individualist," he was evidently also expected to be less competitive, less egocentric, less driven by sexual impulses, and to take a healthy "delight in his family, spending his evenings at home reading with his wife and children" (Marsh 169). By the end of the nineteenth century, Filene underscores, "to 'be a man' was an exquisitely difficult and ambiguous ideal" (91).
Given the tremendous uneasiness among social commentators of every persuasion concerning the "proper" role of women in turn-of-the-century America, it seems hardly surprising that The Pit is framed as the story of Laura, not of Jadwin. (14) "The story is told through Laura Dearborn," Norris explained to Isaac Marcosson in November 1901. "She occupies the center of stage all the time, and I shall try to interest the reader more in her character than in any other human element in the book" (Collected Letters 173). Norris's emphasis on Laura's development from a "heroine of romance," to a woman beset by her "sex side," to a caring "nurse" and considerate helpmate makes The Pit less a business novel than a bildungsroman (8, 34, 362). Read against the backdrop of progessivist efforts to stabilize or normalize volatile male-female relations within corporate capitalism through the concept of companionate marriage, however, it becomes clear that more than the heroine's personal growth and development is at stake in The Pit.
In line with Norris's Zolaesque conviction that romantic conventions only serve to heighten the content of realist stories, the novel commences forebodingly. When the reader first meets Laura in the "vestibule of the Auditorium Theatre," the whole city is abuzz with the "Helmick failure" at the nearby Board of Trade. Obviously, the failure of one Helmick to corner the wheat market prefigures Jadwin's fall. Laura, of course, only takes marginal notice of this "real, actual, modern" drama that invades and threatens to upstage the performance of Gounod's opera Faust (33). The "heroine of romance" is "doomed" to her own "dark crises," none the least because she clings to the romantic belief that the fantastic realm of art transcends the realities of commerce.
From the outset, the novel depicts Laura as the clinical type of a young middle-class woman who, according to social reformers of the time, threatens the well being of the entire social body by entertaining outdated and unhealthy notions about romantic love (8). Dazzled by the opera's make-believe world "of perfume, of flowers, of exquisite costume, of beautiful women, of fine, brave men," Laura indulges in dangerous self-delusions during the performance: "she dreamed of another Laura, a better, gentler, more beautiful Laura, whom everybody, everybody loved dearly and tenderly, and who loved everybody, and who should die beautifully, gently, in some garden far away ..."(21). Lost in romantic self-delusions, Laura represents the "old type" of woman whom Norris sets up against the "new type" of woman to come. Accordingly, her literary taste is "the extreme of conservatism" and she refuses "to acknowledge hardly any fiction that was not almost classic" (55). Construing her life around what psychologist Havelock Ellis branded as "the fictive romantic basis," books without a "love story in it" appear "outlandish" to her (56). Thus, it is precisely her hazy desire to be "loved by everybody" that enables the novel to castigate overly self- or sex-conscious female behavior as a psychologically and socially destabilizing "worship of the brazen self."
As the opera proceeds, Laura grows increasingly irritated by "a hoarse, masculine whisper" of commerce that seems to "spoil all the harmony of this moment" (23). Flanked by her two suitors, Sheldon Corthell, "a beautiful artist-priest of the early Renaissance," and Curtis Jadwin, "a merchant prince" and "great financial captain," it briefly dawns on Laura that "the fictive romantic" no longer affords a stable foundation in a world dominated by business relations (21). "[M]idway between two phases of that music-drama," Laura gets "the swift and vivid impression of that other drama that ... was working itself out close at hand, ... equally passionate; but more than that, real, actual, modern, a thing at the very heart of the very life in which she moved" (33). For a moment keenly aware that the "real, actual, modern" transformation of modes of production necessitates a revised, more pragmatic concept of gender relations, Laura becomes highly suspicious of the romantic love promised with religious zeal by the "beautiful artist-priest" Corthell. Intuitively, she grasps that Corthell's flattery and "appeal to the emotions" not only reduce her to an object of sexual desire, but also delimit her ability to fulfill her expanding "womanly" duties within industrial society. "Straightaway he made her feel her sex. Now she was just a woman again, with all a woman's limitations, and her relation with Corthell could never be--so she realized--any other than sex-relations" (34). Immediately following this realization, Laura's thoughts turn to Jadwin, whose unaffected "good-natured[ness]" and self-assuredness make her feel more comfortable (33). In sharp contrast to Corthell, the "stain-glass" artist who tints reality by speaking "only of her heart and to her heart," Jadwin makes "her feel--or rather she ma[kes] herself feel when he talk[s] to her--that she [has] a heart as well as a head" (34). Moreover, unlike Corthell, who aggressively seeks to take possession of her by stressing "her sex side," Jadwin allows Laura to "surrender" herself voluntarily to his guiding "manhood" (34). "Between them," Laura reflects, it is "more a give-and-take affair, more equality, more companionship" (34).
This early scene already hints at the novel's underlying ideological thrust in that it gives shape to Norris's concept of the "new woman," who must learn to translate her gain in greater personal freedom into lasting happiness and fulfillment by voluntarily accepting the restraints of marriage. As Lawrence E. Hussman underscores, "Laura becomes another agent in Norris's program for the development of the 'new woman'" (172). Accordingly, Laura's eventual rejection of Corthell leads "directly, in Norris's eyes, to her redemption" that "will entail dampening her self-centeredness to bestow support and service on her husband" (Hussman 173). Of course, given the novel's inescapable business context, it is important to note that the "new woman's" perceived struggle "to integrate or realize a self and a relationship" not only takes on a personal or interpersonal dimension, but a socio-economic one as well (Hochman 111). For, as Laura's example shows, the unrestrained, impulsive exercise of her new social and sexual freedoms not only causes schizophrenia but produces "gender roles that destroy the self" (Eby 158). Much more precariously for the health of capitalist society at large, the uninhibited exercise of individual freedom also prevents women such as Laura from performing their socially essential tasks of shielding men from "the storm and stress of the day's work," healing the "exhausted bodies" of men, and revitalizing men's "faculties dulled by overwork" (353). Neither a mere assertion of "notions of freedom of choice" nor an "escape" from the harsh realities of industrial capitalism, the companionship model of marriage proposed by Norris and many of his progessivist contemporaries is presented as indispensable for the "normal" functioning of capitalist society. Henceforth, his new progressive model of marriage relations--couched in medical terminology as well as appeals to social responsibility--portends "more equality, more companionship" through an integration or incorporation of women such as Laura into the production process. Whereas in earlier times it might have been sufficient for women to imbue the household with an atmosphere of moral uprightness and love, now they must actively work to create a companionate relationship, wherein the labor of love extends beyond childbearing and rearing to include the physical maintenance and spiritual recreation of their husband's productive capacities.
Following the opera scene, Laura quickly becomes too wrapped up in her flirtations with Landry, Jadwin, and Corthell to perceive the personal and social benefits of companionate marriage. Settled into her new Chicago home and courted by three devoted admirers, Laura only feels "Romance, unseen, intangible, at work all about her" (69-70). In fact, she is so "amused with her emancipation from the narrow horizon of her New England environment" that she never misses "an occasion to shock Aunt Wess by declaring: 'I love--nobody. I shall never marry'" (102). In careless denial of her socio-evolutionary role as selector and devoted companion of the best available male, Laura's "new life" passes by rather uneventfully until Monsieur Gerardy's arrival affords her with a welcome diversion and she joins an amateur acting troupe. At this stage, the flirtatious and self-indulgent Laura unmistakably fits the mold of the liberated "new woman," who, according to Rogers, has achieved "great personal freedom" but not learned how to manage it.
Not surprisingly, it is the sober-minded Jadwin who must subsequently remind reckless Laura of her "womanly" duties. During a tour of one of the "half dozen broken-down, bankrupt Sunday-school[ s]" he has consolidated "on a business basis," Jadwin not only renews his marriage proposal but also uses the occasion to teach Laura her proper role in society (110). Awkwardly meshing appeals to pragmatic religiosity, moral responsibility, and patriotism in his short speech, Jadwin explains,
Men need good women, Miss Dearborn. Men who are doing the work in the world. I believe in women as I believe in Christ. But I don't believe they were made--any more than Christ was--to cultivate--beyond a certain point--their own souls, and refine their own minds, and live in a sort of warmed-over, dilettante, stained-glass world of seclusion and exclusion. No, sir, that won't do for the United States and the men who are making them the greatest nation of the world. The men have all the get-up-and-get they want, but they need the women to point them straight, and to show them how to lead that other kind of life that isn't all grind. (112)
Jadwin's insistence on the social necessity of heterosexual marriage, his reaffirmation of a masculine work ethic, his open attack on self-isolating romanticism, and his modern view of women as companions, playmates, and therapists clearly resound progessivist sentiments. Similar to social engineers such as Ellis and Pyke, Jadwin denounces a strict Victorian separation of spheres only to predicate the "new woman's" greater personal, political, and economic freedoms upon her expanded reproductive function within marriage.
For a while, however, Laura manages to resist the cultural and socio-economic force of Jadwin's argument. And even though Jadwin's characteristic "persistence" finally compels Laura to accept the indispensable restraints of marriage, her view of matrimonial relations remains colored by unhealthy romanticism. Still under the impression of Faust, Laura expresses her disillusionment with the actuality of marriage to Mrs. Cressler: "I thought when love came it was to be--oh, uplifting, something glorious like Juliet's love or Marguerite's" (143). Increasingly troubled by lack of desire for Jadwin, Laura first attempts to rationalize her impending marriage to the wealthy financier on purely materialistic grounds. "He loves me, and he is rich. Isn't that enough?" she asks her sister (149). Then, having received a negative reply from Page, Laura once again reverts to a romantic mode, casting herself as haughty princess whose sole purpose in life is to be worshipped. "A man ought to love a woman more than she loves him," Laura self-centeredly states. "It ought to be enough for him if she lets him give her everything she wants in the world. He ought to serve her like the old knights" (149). (15)
Predictably, both of Laura's strategies to come to terms with her new role as a wife-to-be fail miserably. As the wedding date draws nearer, irritability, violent outbursts, mood swings, and general nervousness almost incapacitate Laura. Her first crisis reaches its climax shortly after the wedding. Alone in her bedroom after the ceremony, Laura realizes that her "[g]irlhood was gone." Praying "in the little unstudied words of her childhood ... that God would take care of her and make her a good girl" (1650, she briefly experiences what Sigmund Freud would later term "infantile regression." But when Jadwin unexpectedly appears by her side to steady her with his "strong, heavy" arm and to calm her with a few words of empathy, Laura "suddenly" fathoms her husband's depth of understanding. "[I]n that moment," she discovers "just what it mean[s] to be completely, thoroughly understood without chance of misapprehension, without shadow of doubt; understood to her heart's heart" (165). What's more, "[n]o woman, not her dearest friend; not even Page," Laura grasps, "had ever seemed so close to her as d[oes] her husband now" (165-66). In accordance with the views of progessivist social reformers, Laura gradually begins to see that true understanding and lasting fulfillment must grow out of lifelong commitment to monogamous heterosexual companionship rather than a deluded reliance on passionate feelings or same-sex friendships. Moreover, as Laura impulsively kisses her new husband and thereby unconsciously fulfills an earlier bargain, she seems to sense that personal happiness is indissolubly bound up with her productive role in companionate marriage. That Laura had forgotten Jadwin's promise to "get" her "that conservatory" in exchange for a spontaneous profession of love suggests that she begins to internalize her socio-economic role of an active producer of love (157).
Confirming observations of fin-de-siecle psychologists, according to which "the readjustment from the fictive romantic basis on to something more stable ... is usually painful, troublesome, and imperfect" (qtd. in Lindesy 120), Laura's "affection for her husband" during the first weeks of marriage comes and goes "capriciously" and at times she even believes "herself to be really unhappy" (The Pit 181). "[A]ll at once, however, she "awaken[s]" to the actuality of her marriage. Having successfully adjusted her expectations, Laura shows unmistakable signs of a "new woman" who understands that "she [is] her husband's; she belong[s] to him indissolubly, forever and forever, and [that] surrender [is] a glory" (181). And in overcoming what social commentators such as Pyke had identified as the "tendency to discourage a woman who marries from merging her separate individuality in her husband's," Laura "in that moment [knows] that love, the supreme triumph of a woman's life, was less a victory than a capitulation" (181).
Laura's "capitulation" is followed by a vague "realization of certain responsibilities" toward her hard-working husband. Getting "acquainted with the real man-within-the-man," Laura not only learns to tolerate his "inconsistencies," but in addition strives to fulfill her role as his companion to the best of her abilities (184-85). On weekends, she accompanies Jadwin on his fishing trips and in the evenings, she entertains him by reading Michael Strogoff, Treasure Island, The Wrecker, and Silas Lapham (190). Meanwhile, however, Jadwin's growing absorption in stock market speculation begins to cast dark shadows over their harmonious relationship. Perceiving that her husband's thoughts have turned from her to "the swirl of the great maelstrom in the Board of Trade Building," Laura finally remarks, "I'm seeing less and less of you every day" (199). Soon, her complaints mount and rather than lending him a sympathetic ear or taking sincere interest in his business affairs, Laura protests: "You never used to be this way .. .. Last night, when Gretry was here, you said, just after dinner, that you would be all through your talk in an hour. And I waited ... I waited till eleven, and then I went to bed. Dear I--I--I was lonesome" (203).
As an earlier conversation with Page indicates, Laura still adheres to outdated ideas concerning the woman's role in marriage. Asked by her sister what it means "to be womanly," Laura naively responds,
Why, I don't know, honey. It's to be kind and well-bred and gentle mostly, and never to be bold or conspicuous--and to love one's home and to take care of it, and to love and believe in one's husband, or parents, or children--or even one's sister--above any one else in the world. (197-98)
Unlike Laura, whose definition of love is apparently limited to passive devotion, Page, through her growing acquaintance with Landry, has already begun to develop a modern understanding of companionate marriage and the "new woman's" duties therein. Convinced that "companionship ... between man and woman ... is the great thing," Page defines her budding relationship with Landry not on the "fictive romantic basis" of self-sacrificial loyalty, but on the progessivist grounds of "physical" and "psychical reciprocity." Rebuffing Laura's suggestion that she feels flattered by Landry's attention, Page shrieks, "Oh, I didn't mean that! .. . He wants to be more than a mere money-getting machine, he says, and he wants to cultivate his mind and understand art and literature and that. And he wants me to help him, and I said I would" (198). In sharp contrast to Laura, who is still prone to "live in a sort of warmed-over, dilettante, stained-glass world of seclusion and exclusion," Page clearly perceives that it is the natural responsibility of the "new woman" to assist her husband in balancing modern demands of home and business life (112). Laura, blinded by self-pity, is to reach the same insight only after her traumatic affair with Corthell.
Returning from a four-year stint in Italy, the effeminate "artist-priest" Corthell assumes a similar role to that of the devil in Faust when he once again showers the deserted Laura with his self-serving protestations of romantic love. Following through with his systematic program of reeducation, which once again turns Laura into a passive consumer of love, Corthell teaches her to appreciate great paintings and literature while cultivating her lingering passions with romantic music and conversations about subjects that allude to erotic love. Given turn-of-the-century anxieties about female sexuality, it is hardly surprising that the encounters between Corthell and Laura are overlaid with sexual connotations. Already during his first call, Corthell asks permission to play Liszt's Mephisto Waltz for Laura on Jadwin's "grand, noble organ" (!) that had hitherto stood unused (219). Reclining "in a long chair in the dim, beautiful picture gallery," Laura's response to the "prolonged chord's of Liszt's, heavy and clogged and cloyed with passion" can only be described as orgasmic: "the vibration of it shook her entire being, and left her quivering and breathless, the tears in her eyes, her hands clasped till the knuckles whitened" (221-22). In an equally suggestive scene, Laura, "with a sudden, impulsive movement," turns to the visiting Corthell and invites him upstairs into her private sitting room. There, Corthell produces a "heart-shaped" matchbox, and what follows has been read as an allusion to sexual intercourse:
"An old pouncet-box, I believe," he informed her, "or possibly it held an ointment for her finger nails." He spilled the matches into his hand. "You see the red stain still on the inside; and--smell," he added, as she took it from him. "Even the odour of the sulphur matches cannot smother the quaint old perfume, distilled perhaps three centuries ago." An hour later Corthell left her. (261)
Under the influence of Corthell, Laura's nervousness, selfish insecurity, and old love for theatric self-representation returns. Though Jadwin frequently complains of "a sort of numbness" that had befallen him since cornering the wheat market, Laura thinks only of herself and thus grossly neglects her self-stabilizing reproductive duties of healing his "exhausted body" and restoring his "faculties dulled by overwork" (353). On one occasion, "as he kiss[es] his wife good-by, Laura put[s] her arms around his neck" and cries, "if I thought you did not love me--love me better than anything, anything--I could not love you; Curtis, I could not, I could not" (270-71). On another occasion, Laura desperately attempts to regain her husband's undivided attention and admiration by putting on various plays at once. To the great bafflement of her overworked husband, Laura appears as Theodora, Athalia, Racine's Phedre, and Bizet's Carmen. Abandoned once more, Laura is so overwhelmed by her insatiable longing "to be amused, diverted, entertained" that she dispatches a note to Corthell and then nearly fails to retrieve it from the messenger boy (314).
The intertwined business-love drama of The Pit reaches its climax in chapter X, when Jadwin's symptoms of hysteria give way to full-blown madness as his scheme to corner the wheat market finally collapses and Laura learns the final lesson concerning her womanly duties and companionate relations. Corroborating contemporary fears that "the American man ... prostitutes his energy, vigor, and courage to one sole end--materialistic success" (Filene 83), Jadwin loses his senses and must be escorted from the floor of the Board of Trade, where he had single-handedly fought to stem the tide of the onrushing summer wheat until the end. Meanwhile, Laura sits at home alone, oblivious of her husband's plight and preoccupied with the egotistical fear that Jadwin might have forgotten her birthday. When Page arrives to give her an excited report about Jadwin's and Landry's "brave and courageous" fight, Laura flares up "with a sharp gesture of impatience and exasperation, crying: 'Oh, what do I care about wheat--about this wretched scrambling for money? Curtis was busy, you say? He looked that way?'" (350). What Laura apparently does not realize is that she had unwittingly worsened Jadwin's "wretched scrambling for money" by neglecting her wifely duties "to point [him] straight, and to show [him] how to lead that other kind of life that isn't all grind" (112). Thus, highlighting Laura's failure to act as a true companion, helpmate, and aid to her husband, Page angrily replies,
If my husband had a battle to fight, do you think I'd mope and pine because he left me at home? no, I wouldn't. I'd help him buckle his sword on, and when he came back to me I wouldn't tell him how lonesome I'd been, but I'd take care of him and cry over his wounds, and tell him to be brave--and--and--and I'd help him. (350) (16)
At first angry, then puzzled, and in time pensive, Laura gradually begins to absorb Page's lesson. Waiting for her husband's return, it dawns on Laura not only that the theatrical "display of her beauty, this parade of dress, this exploitation of self" was unwarranted, but also that she should have taken "real interest ... in her husband's work" (354). Moreover, she "suddenly" begins to "recognise a third" side of herself that, like "a new element, a new force," rises "above" her previous selves and in "some beautiful mysterious sense [is] identity ignoring self" (355). Of course, like many turn-of-the-century social engineers who employed the scientific language of naturalization and normalization, Norris is careful to point out that Laura's subsumption of identity for the greater social benefit of companionate marriage is an evolutionary rather than a revolutionary process. And to underscore that Laura is "[o]nly a woman, weak, torn by emotion, driven by impulse," she subsequently has to withstand one more of Corthell's terrifying temptations before she is allowed to reemerge in the closing chapter as a shining example of the reformed, compassionate, and nurturing "new woman" (355).
Laura's concluding affirmation that she has "won a victory by surrendering" as well as Page's letter concerning the mutual bliss of companionate marriage make clear that Norris does not just "critically interrogate turn-of-the-century assumptions about gender roles" in The Pit (363, Eby 150). Nor does Norris simply point to "the positive potential of embracing flux and paradox" (Hochman 116). Rather, before the backdrop of cultural anxieties over rising divorce rates, the "new woman's" gain of personal freedom, and changing modes of production, Norris actively partakes in turn-of-the-century constructions of new gender relations that sought to recuperate male control and dominance within normal- or naturalized models of companionate marriage by binding wives into a productive economic partnership
Thus, The Pit's portrayal of Laura's "restlessness," hysteria, and growing schizophrenia, which unmistakably draws upon the mental health rhetoric of the day, is designed to discredit lingering notions of romantic love and recent assertions of novel sexual freedom, both of
which were widely held responsible for the "crisis" of modern family life. At its climax, this exposure of the social and economic dangers inherent in an unrestrained exercise of personal freedom, which articulate themselves through Laura's passive consumption of romantic love, is coupled with a progessivist critique of unbridled individualism in the business world when Jadwin, too, exhibits traces of female hysteria. As Laura ceases to perform her recreational work within the marital partnership and Jadwin's gambling on the stock market becomes obsessive, the micro- and macroeconomic processes of reproduction are interrupted so that the very foundation of industrial capitalism is endangered. To be sure, depicted as jovial, effable, and magnanimous throughout, the beaten "Bull" continues to embody "manly" virtues such as fortitude, determination, persistence, strength, vigor, and so forth. Nevertheless, his Napoleonic megalomania, which ultimately renders him blind to the realities of the business world and causes him to neglect his wife, lets him appear as something of a dinosaur toward the novel's end.
In due course, then, it is Landry, "his young armour bearer," who comes to personify the new middle-class model of a "manly man" (344). A hard-working, selfless, well-oiled, well-adjusted, reliable cog in the corporate machine, Landry, who also takes delight in attending to domestic affairs, appears to have sprung straight out of one of the fast-proliferating turn-of-the-century advice columns. Equipped with the "double personality" of a shrewd businessman to whom "a crowd is a real inspiration" and a husband to whom "the companionship of one intelligent, sympathetic woman is as much of a stimulus as a lot of men," Landry embodies the successful reconciliation of the "strenuous" with domestic life (83, 193).
Likewise, even though Laura eventually realizes "that marriage is her work in the world," merges "her personality into her husband's," and acquires the "art of giving," it is the much less colorful Page who seems to best represent the turn-of-the-century ideal of a "womanly woman." Considerate and indulgent, as eager to assist as to please her man, and without any selfish desires of her own, Page quite literally seems to be a page out of an early sexologist's handbook on companionate marriage. In the end, The Pit's promise of social stability through self-subsuming cooperation on the part of "womanly" women and greater attention to domestic affairs on the part of "manly" men speaks less to the novel's formal failure as a work of "high naturalism" than to the powerful reformative impulse of the dawning era of progressivism.
(1) An exception to this apparent rule is Joseph Katz, who argues in "Eroticism in American Realism" that "The Pit offers so good an example of the ways in which a realist not only could treat erotic materials successfully, but also could use them as integral in an extensive work of fiction, that it does deserve consideration as a specimen for analysis" (37).
(2) See Donald Pizer's "Late Nineteenth-Century American Naturalism" (Realism and Naturalism in Nineteenth-Century American Literature. Ed. Donald Pizer [Carbondale: Southern Illinois UP, 1984]) 9-30.
(3) Joseph McElrath puts forth a similar argument in Frank Norris Revisited (New York: Twayne, 1992) 121.
(4) "A marriage that forgets the world that makes the marriage contract possible," Horowitz writes, "shares in speculation's scandalous insouciance of objects in the world. How redemptive is it, after all, to forget the clamorous world when, by virtue of money won in speculation, one is to board a train for a home further west?" (234).
(5) Dorothy M. Brown summarizes the new business credo of fin-de-siecle America with a 1902 quote by the vice president of the Chemical National Bank of New York: "We know that real success in business is not attained at the expense of others. Business can succeed only in the long run by acquiring and holding the goodwill of people" (9).
(6) As Amy Kaplan has pointed out in The Social Construction of American Realism, realist writers inhabit a world in which, according to historian Jackson Lears, "reality itself began to seem problematic, something to be sought rather than merely lived." Realistic narratives enact this search not by fleeing into the imagination or into nostalgia for a lost past but by actively constructing the coherent social world they represent; and they do this not in a vacuum of fictionality but in direct confrontation with the elusive process of social change. (9)
(7) On the feminist response to Darwin's The Descent of Man as well as Frank Norris's treatment of evolutionary gender differentiation in Moran of the Lady Letty (1898) and A Man's Woman (1899), see Paul Civello's "Evolutionary Feminism, Popular Romance, and Frank Norris's Man's Woman'" (Studies in American Fiction 24.1 (1996): 23-45).
(8) In The Descent of Man, Darwin argues that male competition for females had lead to greater variation among men and subsequently bestowed them not only with physical superiority, but also with "the higher mental faculties, namely, observation, reasons, invention, or imagination" (564). "The chief distinction in the intellectual powers of the two is shewn," Darwin concludes, "by man's attaining to a higher eminence, in whatever he takes up, than can woman--whether requiring deep thought, reason, or imagination, or merely the use of the senses and hands" (564).
(9) Tellingly, Norris's essay, "Why Women Should Write the Best Novels: And Why They Don't" (1901), reiterates Darwin's contention that man "attain[s] to a higher eminence, in whatever he takes up, than can woman." See Donald Pizer, ed., The Literary Criticism of Frank Norris (Austin: U of Texas P, 1964).
(10) As Lawrence Hussman points out, "Norris's agenda here is ... to put [Laura] on a path to the kind of equal-partnership, companionate relationship that he at least believed to had established with Jeanette Black" (173).
(11) See Michel Foucault, The History of Sexuality, vol. 1 (New York: Pantheon, 1978).
(12) Cf. Lasch 8-21, Laslett and Brenner 390-99, Filene 7-76. Also see Mintz and Kellogg 107-19.
(13) "As regards the various senses," Havelock Ellis assesses in Man and Woman: A Study of Secondary and Tertiary Sexual Characteristics (1894),
the balance of advantage on the side of women is less empathically on their side than popular notions would have led us to expect. The popular belief is really founded on the confusion of two totally distinct nervous qualities: sensibility and irritability--or as it is perhaps better called, affectability; women having greater irritability, men deeper sensibility. (qtd. in Rogers 290)
(14) Norris left no doubt that he intended to intervene in contemporaneous debates about changing gender relations through The Pit. Stressing the relevance of the novel's "two main themes"--"the story Jadwin's corner of May wheat and the story of his wife's 'affair' with Corthell"--Norris explained, "I shall try to show that all these are American issues modern, typical, and important" (Collected Letters 173).
(15) Norris's characterization of Laura in this scene foreshadows Anne Rogers's condemnation of "the average American woman," who demands "[m]ore of his love, more admiration, more time, more money ... all to satisfy her recently discovered Self" (293).
(16) It is interesting to note here how Page appropriates the old romantic idiom to imbue the modern business world with an aura of heroism.
Bender, Bert. "Frank Norris on the Evolution and Repression of the Sexual Instinct." Nineteenth-Century Literature 54.1 (1999): 73-103.
Brown, Dorothy M. Setting a Course: American Women in the 1920s. Boston: Twayne, 1987.
Canfield, James. "The Philosophy of Staying in Harness." Cosmopolitan May 1905: 10-11.
Darwin, Charles. The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex. London: Murray, 1875.
Eby, Clare Virginia. "Domesticating Naturalism: The Example of The Pit." Studies in American Fiction 22.2 (1994): 149-169.
Filene, Peter Gabriel. Him/Her/Self: Sex Roles in Modern America. New York: Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich, 1975.
Gamble, Eliza Burton. The Evolution of Woman: An Inquiry Into the Dogma of Her Inferiority to Man. New York: Putnam, 1894.
Gilman, Charlotte Perkins. Women and Economics: A Study of the Economic Relation Between Men and Women as a Factor in Social Evolution. Boston: Small, Maynard, and Co., 1898.
Higham, John. "The Reorientation of American Culture in the 1890s." Writing American History. Ed. John Higham. Bloomington: U of Indiana P, 1970. 73-102.
Hochman, Barbara. The Art of Frank Norris, Storyteller. Columbia: U of Missouri P, 1988.
Horowitz, Howard. "To Find the Value of X:" The Pit as a Renunciation of Romance." American Realism: New Essays. Ed. Eric Sundquist. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins UP, 1982. 215-37.
Hussman, Lawrence E. Harbingers of a Century: The Novels of Frank Norris. New York: Peter Lang, 1999.
Kaplan, Amy. The Social Construction of American Realism. Chicago: UP of Chicago, 1988.
Katz, Joseph. "Eroticism in American Realism." Studies in American Fiction 5.1 (1977): 35-50.
Lasch, Christopher. Haven in a Heartless World: The Family Besieged. New York: Basic Books, 1977.
Laslett, Barbara and Johanna Brenner. "Gender and Social Reproduction: Historical Perspectives." Annual Review of Sociology 15 (1989): 381-404.
Lindesy, Ben B. and Evans Wainwright. The Companionate Marriage. Garden City, NY: Garden City Pub. Co., 1929.
Marchand, Ernest. Frank Norris: A Study. New York: Octagon, 1970.
Marsh, Margaret. "Suburban Men and Masculine Domesticity." American Quarterly 40.2 (1988): 165-186.
McElrath, Joseph, and Gwendolyn Jones. "Introduction." The Pit: A Story of Chicago. By Frank Norris. New York: Penguin Books, 1994. vii-xxv.
McElrath, Joseph, and Katherine Knight, eds. Frank Norris: The Critical Reception. New York: Burt Franklin and Co., 1981.
Mintz, Steven, and Susan Kellogg. Domestic Revolutions: A Social History of American Family Life. New York: The Free Press, 1988.
Mitchell, Lee Clark. "Naturalism and the Language of Determinism." Columbia Literary History of the United States. Ed. Emory Elliott. New York: Columbia UP, 1988.
Norris, Frank. Frank Norris: Collected Letters. Ed. Jesse S. Crisler. San Francisco: Book Club of California, 1986.
--. The Pit: A Story of Chicago. New York: Penguin, 1994.
Pizer, Donald. The Novels of Frank Norris. Bloomington: Indiana UP, 1966.
Pyke, Rafford. "Husband and Wife." Cosmopolitan Apr. 1902: 28-39.
Rogers, Anna A. "Why American Marriages Fail." The Atlantic Monthly Sept. 1907: 289-98.
Walcutt, Charles Child. American Literary Naturalism, A Divided Stream. Minneapolis: U of Minnesota P, 1956.
KARSTEN H. PIEP is a dissertation fellow at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. His recent publications include a paper on Lydia Maria Child and George Washington Cable as well as an article on the race and gender politics in American novels of World War I.
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|Author:||Piep, Karsten H.|
|Publication:||Papers on Language & Literature|
|Article Type:||Critical Essay|
|Date:||Jan 1, 2004|
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