• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Realism and Naturalism in American Literature.

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Realism & Naturalism in the American literature I. The Realistic period: (1865-1900). During this period modern America was born and the American dream has been intellectually lost. After the civil War a strong critical movement toward realism appeared. Realism has been defined by one of its most vigorous advocates, W.D.Howells, as ?the truthful treatment of materials? (i.e. realism= verisimilitude ?the appearance of being true or real?). 1. What is realism: Realistic fiction is often opposed to romantic fiction: romantic writing is said to present life as we would have it be, idealized, more picturesque, more adventurous, more heroic than the actual; realism, to present an accurate imitation of life as it is. The realist sets out to write a fiction which will give the illusion that it reflects life as it seems to the common reader. To achieve this effect, the realist is deliberately selective in his material and prefers the average, the common place, and the everyday over the rarer aspects of the contemporary scene. His characters, therefore, are usually of the middle class or (less frequently) ...read more.

Middle

Breen Practice? (1881); the self-made man, in ?The Rise of Silas Lapham? (1885); factory workers and summer resort people, in ?Annie Kilburn? (1889). His books also discuss serious social questions honestly: divorce, in ?A modern instance? (1882); and social justice, in ?A Hazard of New Fortunes? (1889). Taken together, Howells? novels give a full, clear picture of American life in the last years of the 19th century. II. Naturalism (the harsher form of realism 1990): Naturalism is sometimes claimed to be an even accurate picture of life than is realism. Naturalism is a mode of fiction that was developed by a school of writers in accordance with a special philosophical thesis. This thesis, a product of post-Darwinian biology in the mid-nineteenth century, held that man belongs entirely to the order of nature; and does not have a soul or any other connection with a religious or spiritual world beyond nature; that man is therefore merely a higher-order animal whose character and fortunes are determined by two kinds of natural forces, heredity and environment. He inherits his personal traits and his compulsive instincts, especially hunger and sex, and he is helplessly subject to the social and economic forces in the family, the class, and the milieu into which he was born. ...read more.

Conclusion

In his novels, he tries to treat human beings scientifically, rather than intuitively with the poetic insight so much prized by writers of the 19th century. He saw that life is hard and found, in social Darwinism and in the theory of Zola and naturalists, the explanation that man is the product of social processes and forces and of an inevitable kind of social evolution. His tone is always serious, never satirical or comic. His major work Sister Carry. 3. Frank Norris: another important follower of Zola, he was preoccupied with La bête humaine in a book called Mc Teague. It is a book that depicts a naturalistic process (a movement toward degeneration), there is a chain of events which once set in motion releases forces (energies/ conflicts). All these novels were written in the mode of literary naturalism, which invited writers to examine human being objectively, as a scientific studies nature. In portraying ugliness and cruelty, the authors refrained from preaching about them; rather they left readers to draw their own conclusions about the life so presented. Naturalistic fiction shocked many readers; but in revealing hitherto neglected areas of life, it greatly broadened the scope of fiction. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our International Baccalaureate World Literature section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related International Baccalaureate World Literature essays

  1. Women in Literature

    Maria could be a nameless woman for all that it mattered to Mersault, since all he likes about her are her physical attributes. This also contributes to the reader's insight into the theme of the importance of the physical world, but to do so through the materialization of Maria it does not need to be sexual.

  2. Though a piece of fictional literature, The Stranger is an embodiment of an actual ...

    Throughout the text Mersault continues to demonstrate in his straightforward and short sentences, as well as actions, that all he wants is to isolate himself from society and what it expects of him. This is shown through his choice of sending his mother to live in a home and refusing to see her remains upon her death.

  1. How victims of globalisation have been presented in poems, novels and films.

    Newfoundland's contrasting celebrations of local traditions, such as the Christmas pageant in chapter thirty four, illustrates the way the local is supportive - "a sweep of best clothes...the puff of scented bodies, a murmur like bees over a red field" The metaphor of the "bees" quite obviously suggests that the

  2. A Mid Summer Nights dream: A Comedy with serious elements

    Chaff notwithstanding, Shakespeare in other plays was able, in Theseus's words, to "find the concord of this discord." (Dukore 1) Not much after Theseus and Hippolyta's relationship status is portrayed, another serious element follows, which involves Hermia's fate. Egeus demands that the law punish Hermia if she fails to comply

  1. The role of the Mississippi River in The Adventures of Huck Finn

    During the trip down the river Huck and Jim find a ?a frame house down on the west. She was a two-story, and tilted over, considerable,?(Twain 33). They adventure inside and find a dead body, but they also scavenger for useful supplies As the pair progresses Huck becomes curious, and

  2. Discuss the Effects of Major Political and Social Movements on the Literary Works of ...

    Then there was the rise of feminism, which means ?the radical notion that women are people?, according to British suffragist and journalist Rebecca West. The feminist movement was a social and political movement that sought to establish equality for women and many writers from the 20th century reflected this ideology of equal right in their writing.

  1. Discuss "Huckleberry Finn" as a Realist novel.

    Mississippi for refuge, and he breaks free from society, ?it's lovely to live on a raft. We had the sky up there, all speckled with stars, and we used to lay on our backs and look up at them, and discuss about whether they was made or only just happened,? (Twain 90).

  2. Portrayal of Food in Literature

    Thereby, in the story, Lahiri offers a glimpse into the psychology of the relationship between Shoba and Shukumar by both through the quantity and quality of the food and its accumulation or consumption. In ?A Temporary Matter?, Lahiri uses food as a metaphor, but in ?Mrs.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work