Examining The Realism In American Literature English Literature Essay

In the 18th century, the literary manner of romanticism concentrated on the scrutiny of feelings, emotions, and imaginativenesss. After the Civil War and with the coming Industrial Revolution, alteration in America was inevitable. They had a enormous consequence on the societal and economic facets, every bit good as the literary. Merely as people moved from rural to urban metropoliss and from agribusiness to mill, the characters and secret plans of literature began to alter besides. Literary characters became more of import than secret plan and they began to command their ain fates. The readers ‘ fancy for pragmatism coincides with the alterations that were happening at the terminal of the 19th century. There was literally a “ civil war ” brewing between the romantics and realists and shortly after, the naturalists. Realist authors Freeman, Howells, Bierce, Twain, and the naturalist author Crane used scene, secret plan and character development to show the alterations taking topographic point toward the terminal of the 19th century.

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Post civil war realist, Mary Wilkins Freeman concentrates on the part of New England and on adult females ‘s struggle in society. Freeman breaks from tradition by utilizing a female supporter, Louisa, in “ A New England Nun ” . The struggle Louisa is holding involves her fiancee and the traditions of society. After being engaged to Joe Dagget for 15 old ages, and upon his return, Louisa finds herself non desiring to acquire married. She has lived a lone life and is pretty set in her modus operandis. After Joe leaves from sing Louisa one dark, she “ swept Joe Dagget ‘s path carefully ” ( Freeman 447 ) . Neither Louisa nor Joe wants to travel against society or the promise to each other by interrupting the battle. Joe tells Louisa, “ aˆ¦ if you ‘d wanted to maintain on, I ‘d hold stuck to you till my deceasing twenty-four hours ” ( Freeman 452 ) . The romantic thought of matrimony is squashed by Freeman when Louisa hears the love Joe has for Lilley. Louisa tells Joe she has nil against him, but “ had lived so long in one manner that she shrank from doing a alteration ” ( Freeman 452 ) . Louisa ‘s penchant gives a feminist position, in which Freeman wants the reader to embracing.

William Howells is known as “ The Dean of Literary Realism ” ( Keel ) . Howells states that “ Romanticism is nil more and nil less than the true intervention of stuff ” ( Keel ) . He argues that people and events should be portrayed realistically and he holds true to this belief in the narrative “ Editha ” . Howells destroys the romantic impressions of war in “ Editha ” . It is a realistic word picture of the worlds of war and the romantic thoughts that Americans believe. Using character development, Howells opens up a new manner of thought. Editha is used to reason the naA?ve romantic political orientation of war against the ghastly world of causality. When speech production of the Spanish American War, Editha passionately proclaims, “ How glorious! ” and George says “ It ‘s war ” ( Howells 531 ) . Editha is excited about the war and she believes that any adult male who wants to be with her must turn out themselves to her. There is nil romantic about war. This is apparent when George goes off to war, ne’er to return. Editha, still in her fantasy universe, receives the intelligence that she now has a hero. Mrs. Gearson makes Editha recognize that it is her, Editha that has sentenced George to decease. We see the worlds of war when Editha, in carry throughing her promise to George, visits his female parent after his decease. Mrs. Gearson tells her “ I had been through one war before. When you sent him you did n’t anticipate he would acquire killed ” ( Howells 539 ) . Mrs. Gearson has experienced firsthand the loss associated with war. Society fantasizes about war and they celebrate killing the enemy, but Howells makes the reader understand that in war, if it is non your boy death, so it is another adult female ‘s kid.

Ambrose Bierce ‘s secret plan in “ An Happening at Owl Creek ” uses decease as his subject. Bierce is the lone writer that has firsthand experience with war and despises everything about it. He thinks of soldiers as “ little more than paid bravos ” ( Gray ) . This narrative is a great illustration of the romantic manner stoping and the realist get downing. In the first subdivision, the readyings are being made for the hanging of a “ civilian adult male ” ( Bierce 627 ) . Bierce ‘s displacements his point of position from 3rd individual to limited omniscient. Section two shows how the civilian, Peyton, comes to be in his quandary. Peyton personifies romanticism in his desire to assist the South and its cause. He is devoted to the South and “ no service was excessively low for him ” ( Bierce 628 ) . Section three takes the reader from the romantic semblance that Peyton will get away to the realistic decision of decease. “ Peyton Farquhar was dead ; his organic structure, with a broken cervix, swung gently from side to side beneath the lumbers of the Owl Creek span ” ( Bierce 632 ) . Just like the decease of Peyton, so is the decease of romanticism.

Mark Twain introduces his definition of pragmatism through his unfavorable judgment of Fenimore Cooper. Twain makes it clear that literature should hold realistic characters and scene, which serves a specific intent. He besides believes that the narrative should carry through something. These set of regulations are clear in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Twain uses pragmatism in every facet of the novel: scene, characters, and idiom. Twain, in his foreword, explains why he uses the different idioms. Their intent is humor, but he does non desire the reader to believe that they are all seeking unsuccessfully to speak like one another. Jim, the slave, speaks in slang and uses improper English. For illustration, when Huck asks Jim how long he ‘s been on the island, Jim replies, “ I come heah de dark arter you ‘s killed ” ( Twain 273 ) . Couple wants to remain true to the country and the different characters in the book. Realism depicts characters as they truly are some good and some bad, with strengths and failings. Mark Twain reveals the struggle in this narrative through Huck ‘s ethical motives and actions, which clash with society. Huck is faced with a monumental determination: bend in Jim, the slave, or assist him get away. Twain describes this struggle by stating “ a book of mine where a sound bosom and a distorted scruples come into hit and scruples suffers a licking ” ( Gray ) . Huck knows that it is incorrect to assist a runaway slave, but he says “ All right, so, I ‘ll travel to hell ” ( Twain 379 ) . Twain uses Tom Sawyer to do merriment of romantic impressions. Tom, utilizing his cognition of books, devises programs that are romantic, but are non really logical and do non do much sense. When Tom offers to assist Jim flight, he comes up with a complicated program. Most of the programs were pathetic and he had to give up on some of the thoughts and feign to make other parts. Tom describes the manner of delivering Jim as excessively easy, it needs to be more “ cryptic, and troublesome, and good ” ( Twain 391 ) . This is a game for Tom, who already knows that Jim is free.

Naturalism is a darker, more scientific signifier of pragmatism. Stephen Crane is an writer who blends pragmatism with naturalism. Crane believes that nature is amoral, in that has no differentiation of right or incorrect, it merely is. In the narrative “ The Open Boat ” Crane uses the sea to demo how nature is unconcerned with worlds. The four work forces in the boat, the captain, the oiler, the letter writer, and the cook, are stranded in the ocean. “ The birds sat comfortably in groups, and they were envied by some in the dingey, for the wrath of the sea was no more to them than it was to a covey of prairie poulets ” ( Crane 780 ) . As the work forces conquered each moving ridge, the following 1 would hit. Naturalism was influenced by Darwin, who believes in endurance of the fittest. What is adult male to make when faced with a ramping sea and nature who does non care? As the work forces on the boat reveal, merely hope will assist you survive.

Realism is defined as “ a powerful impulse to mirror the unmitigated worlds of life ” by Henry James. Ambrose Bierce defines pragmatism as “ the art of picturing nature as it is seen by frogs ” ( Keel ) . Realist writers use secret plan and character development to demo their personal beliefs in society. Many things changed after the Civil War. The alterations were important, in that they influenced the ideas and thoughts of the people. These influences and displacement in alteration were apparent in the Hagiographas of the realist writers. Works like “ Editha ” and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn are terrific illustrations of the literary alteration. They captured the altering romantic thoughts of war and bondage and realistically portrayed decease and imprisonment.


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