Realism 1855 1914 The Civil War: Changed Everything A nation divided Interrupts Transcendentalism Walt Whitman Transition Writer; late Transcendentalist poet, early Realist Leaves of Grass
Historical Background Population of US is growing rapidly Science, industry, and transportation are expanding The aftermath of the Civil War meant that Americans were less certain and optimistic about the future The idealism of the Romantic period and philosophy of the Transcendentalists seemed out of
Realism The writing of this period steered away from the Romantic, highly imaginative fiction of the early 1800s A reaction AGAINST Romanticism Rejected heroes, adventurous or unfamiliar subjects The harsh reality of frontier life and the Civil War shattered the nations idealism The three main movements are: Realism
-- Regionalism Naturalism Realism Purpose was to instruct and entertain Character was more important than plot Subject matter drawn from real life experience Reject symbols and romanticizing of subjects Settings are usually familiar to the author Plots emphasized the norm of daily
experience Ordinary characters Some Writers from Realism Period Stephen Crane Jack London The Red Badge of The Call of the Wild White Fang Courage Kate Chopin Willa Cather The Awakening My Antonia
Story of an Hour O Pioneers! Mark Twain Bret Harte Outcasts of Poker Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Flats Adventures of Tom Sawyer Literary Style and Concerns Uniformity & diversity objective writing about
ordinary characters in ordinary situations; real life The art of depicting nature as it is seen by toads Ambrose Bierce Capturing the commonplace Writing in vernacular Local stories Nature again Yes, it is beautifulbut it is also hard and brings hardship and can wear the human spirit do wn Realism - Characteristics
Character is more important than action or plot; complex ethical choices are often the subject Characters appear in their real complexity of temperament and motive Class is important; the novel has traditionally served the interests and aspirations of the insurgent middle class Diction is naturally vernacular, not heightened or poetic; tone may be comic, Regionalism
Regionalism is all about local color or local flavor Local Color means a reliance on minor details and dialects They usually wrote about the South or the West More often than not, these stories were full of humor and small-town characters Naturalism Themes
Survival (man v nature, man v self) Determinism (nature is an indifferent force on the lives of humans) Violence Depicting life as it is with the understanding that humans have no real control over anything; believed larger forces were at work: Nature, Fate, and Heredity More pessimistic than Realism Writing inspired by hardships, whether it was war, frontier, or urbanization Naturalism - Characteristics
Characters Usually un-educated or lower class Lives governed by the forces of heredity, instinct, passion, or the environment The criminal, the fallen, the down-andout
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