McTeague or Animalism Essay

1451 Words 6 Pages
McTeague, or Animalism - Unpublished
     The last decade of the twentieth century in America saw a rise in programs for human’s “self betterment.” A popular form of betterment is that of the inner animal. Interest in Native American animal mysticism, vision quests, and totem animals have increased dramatically in the past few years. No forms of media have been spared; Calvin Klein’s supermodels come on during sitcom commercials to tell viewers they need to be a beast, or to get in touch with their animal within. In the last decade of the nineteenth century, however, animalism was viewed not as a method of self-improvement but as the reprehensible side of humanity that lingered beneath the surface, waiting for an
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Then, as his financial life begins to slide downhill, McTeague begins the physical abuse. A slap here, a punch there, until the boxing of ears is a commonplace occurrence. McTeague acts like a grizzly bear keeping its mate from wandering to far. Even this doesn’t please his sadistic nature. McTeague begins to drink, and his alcohol-sodden brain allows the beast to take full control. He begins biting Trina’s fingers. Although the skin is not usually broken by his chomps, her fingers are bruised to the point where she finds work difficult if not incapacitating. Eventually, McTeague does begin to break her flesh with his teeth, and the paint that she works with poisons her fingers, requiring amputation. Mutilated and finally crushed, Trina leaves McTeague, causing the beast to take full control of the fallen man.
     McTeague’s pact with nature is sealed when he kills Trina in the coatroom of a school. When he flees, he relies on his animal instincts to keep him alive. Like a deer chased by a wolf, McTeague manages to elude his pursuers until they trap him in Death Valley. The hunting pack then closes in, and McTeague joins the hunters in a blood-soaked death.
     Trina is as much an animal as her husband. She is initially repelled by the dentist’s brutish nature, but as soon as he casts his dominating spell on him, her masochistic animal nature awakens. She experiences sexual arousal from McTeague’s
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