American Realism & Naturalism No More Romantic Sunshine

American Realism & Naturalism No More Romantic Sunshine

American Realism & Naturalism No More Romantic Sunshine & Rainbows Origins/Influences Began during the Civil War & continued into the early 20th century Reaction to Romanticism & Transcendentalism: CONTRAST Fertile literary environment Rising middle class & literacy rates Social/Political Context Reaction to Civil War suffering Invention of photograph

Increased literacy & democracy = public hungry for truth & awareness Abolitionism & post-slavery stories Captured true life Dark side of America Origins of Muckraking journalism Expose corruption, particularly political & corporate (continues today) Literature affected: tried to do the same Realism: Values/Beliefs

Contrasts w/Romanticism & Transcendentalism Describes life w/out Romantic subjectivity & idealism Romantics transcend the immediate to find the ideal; Realists focus on the immediate, the here & now and its consequences Present life as it is, not as it might be Like Romantics, focus on common person & daily human experience & progressive, but stimulated change through telling a story that reveals truth & portrays ugliness & cruelty, not preaching (left readers to draw their own conclusions) Multiple views of life: all classes, races, genders Particularly lower/middle classes Highlight class stratification/inequity

Reveal the ugliness & cruelty of life, but leave conclusions to the reader Literary Conventions Characters product of social & environmental factors Often poorly educated or lower class Renders reality closely & often in minute detail, even at the expense of plot Settings usually familiar to the writer Character more important than plot Plausible events avoid sensational, overly dramatic elements

Usually uses the omniscient point of view Conventions Cont. Natural vernacular/speech, not heightened or poetic (like the Romantics) Tone is comic, satiric, or matter-of-fact Considers seemingly ordinary & uninteresting characters/events in order to extract full value & true meaning Written just as spoken

Simple stories far more complex than they appear Realistically conveyed sexuality, both its dark and light sides. Regionalism & Psychological Realism Regionalism: focuses on small geographical area in attempt to reproduce speech & mannerisms Psychological Fiction: character perspectiveas real as any reality Naturalism Branch of Realism

Philosophical position: scientific laws control life Heavily influenced by Darwinism Darker & more fatalistic (fatalistic = determined by fate, not choice) Lives governed by heredity, instinct, & passion Natural Selection Survival of the Fittest Nature NOT nurture. Forces beyond a characters control restrict attempts to

exercise free will or choice More negative than Realism Famous Authors Naturalist: Realist: Mark Twain Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Stephen Crane Red Badge of Courage Upton Sinclair The Jungle

William Dean Howells Kate Chopin Story of an Hour, Desirees Baby, The Awakening Jack London Call of the Wild, To Build a Fire Stephen Crane Maggie: Girl of the Street Henry James Portrait of a Lady, Daisy Miller John Steinbeck Of Mice & Men (debatable)

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