The theme of growth and decay in several of the novels of Booth Tarkington
The thesis was a study of the dominant theme of growth and decay in five of Booth Tarkington’s mature novels: The Magnificent Ambersons, The Turmoil, National Avenue, Alice Adams, and The Heritage of Hatcher Ide. It showed that the novels formed a loosely bound pentology which was a sustained study of the effects of growth on both a modern city and its inhabitants. Growth, in the Tarkington view, brought with it decay, but this decay was never permanent. The inherently optimistic point of view found in the novels demanded that decay would always carry with it the seeds for a new growth. Growth, therefore, was not an evil process, but only one which man must learn to control for his own purposes.