By Martin Bucco
Referred to as the best writers at the American scene, Dreiser is additionally referred to as one of many world's top worst writers, with claims that he's an impurist with not anything yet genius. This tale, informed in grotesque element and with loyal realism, recounts the dilemmas and offerings of a ''loser''; we watch him ascend to temptation, fall in transgression, and obtain his acceptable penance.
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For all its sordid detail, the Death House is also a moral setting, with the narrator acting as pathologist for a diseased social system. In exposé style, he indicts society's Death House as a place of unnecessary and unauthorized cruelty, of stupid and destructive torture, a place where a criminal suffers a thousand deaths before the one to which he is sentenced. The narrator sketches Clyde's mates on murderer's row--most of them coarse, stupid, or sinister. Dreiser reveals how Clyde now sees the horned beast of his jungle nightmares as the flashing electric chair.
Com To prosecute Clyde, the articulate and energetic Mason acts out of not altogether virtuous motives. His primary intention is neither to find the truth nor to achieve justice, but to get himself elected to a judgeship. Although he courageously commits himself to victory, he has much support, both honest and dishonest. Ruthlessly he hurts Clyde, to the benefit of himself, his friends, and his party. His combative instincts aroused by community support and a faltering defendant, Mason is pictured as a foxhound leaping at its prey.
Nowhere is this failure more dramatized than in this section. The narrator's picture of Elvira praying in her dreary mission is that of a biblical figure as an alien in a six-thousand-year-old world. As Elvira prays for help, she thinks of the newspapers and thanks God for this enlightenment. Even some skeptics are moved by her earnestness, faith, and love. The pragmatic Jephson thinks that the religious element which was ready to condemn Clyde might now aid his mother-and Elvira views this as the voice and hand of God.