"Man is the cruelest animal"
"Is man only a blunder of god or god only a blunder of man"
Characters frequently are ill-educated or lower-class whose lives are governed by the forces of heredity, instinct and passion. The main challenge often is their attempts at exercising free will or choice that are beyond their control. Social Darwinism and other social theories explain their fates and situations in life to the reader. The main setting for naturalistic novels tend to be urban, and seem to depict an endless cycle of despair.
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