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|Title:||Women in Dreiser's Cowperwood Trilogy: A Study of the Major Female Characters in The Financier, The Titan and The Stoic, with Special Reference to their Role in Exposing the Character of the Titan Himself, Frank Cowperood|
|Authors:||Pattison, Margaret Roberta|
|Advisor:||Brasch, J. D.|
|Keywords:||English Language and Literature;English Language and Literature|
|Abstract:||<p>The women of Dreiser's Cowperwood Trilogy are supporting, not central, characters in the novels; however, to understand them and the roles they play is important for a reader trying to understand the protagonist, Cowperwood, himself. Dreiser has chosen to write about a man who seems to be a superman, but who is in the long run just as weak and vulnerable as those more ordinary souls who surround him. Cowperwood is a complex man, who has strength which is sometimes merely the illusion of strength, who is intelligent, but only up to a point, and who is attractive, sometimes destructively attractive, to those he meets and associates with. Because of the kind of man he is, he lives in almost total spiritual and emotional isolation, an isolation impinged upon by a very few people, all of them women.<br /><br />The three major relationships of Cowperwood's life are his two marriages and his affair with Berenice Fleming. The three women involved are very different from one another, and each opens up for scrutiny different sides of Cowperwood's nature. Lillian Semple, a very ordinary, respectable sort of woman, helps point up Cowperwood' s immaturity, and his lack of understanding of human nature, a lack which is never corrected throughout his life. His cold-bloodedness also shows through very early on, to be more obviously demonstrated when he comes to be involved with Aileen Butler. Aileen is, next to Cowperwood, the most important character in the Trilogy. Their relationship is the most disastrous of them all, and best illustrates the tragic effect Cowperwood's narrow obsessed dogmatic personality has on those around him. Through Aileen, Dreiser not only amply demonstrates the inhumanity of Cowperwood obvious enough without her presence, but also how little different he is from other men, and how much he is a victim of illusion. Berenice takes the process one step farther; she is like Cowperwood in many ways, but is able to transcend the same limitations under which he suffers. <br /><br />The Cowperwood Trilogy is concerned with philosophical matters in which Dreiser took an intense interest throughout his life, but it is also a personal story about one man and the women he knew, loved and, in some cases, injured deeply. This second aspect sheds light on the first, and has never been sufficiently examined. Dreiser is one novelist who chose to write searchingly about women, and in the Cowperwood Trilogy he has created several female characters worthy of close attention.</p>|
|Appears in Collections:||Open Access Dissertations and Theses|
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