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Unit 4. Regionalism and Naturalism. Realism (Regionalism and Naturalism are offshoots of this). Lit Movement developed in 19 th century Seeks to portray life accurately; depicted life objectively and honestly No sentimentality or idealism

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Unit 4

Unit 4

Regionalism and Naturalism

Realism regionalism and naturalism are offshoots of this
Realism (Regionalism and Naturalism are offshoots of this)

  • Lit Movement developed in 19th century

  • Seeks to portray life accurately; depicted life objectively and honestly

  • No sentimentality or idealism

  • Often focuses on lower and middle classes-ordinary people in ordinary situations

Historical context regionalism and naturalism 1870 1910
Historical context- Regionalism and Naturalism (1870-1910)

  • Post-Civil War (Reconstruction): Readmitting southern states to the Union

  • South left in ruins; people suffering more than ever; racism worse than before or during war

  • America lacks money, property, education; African-Americans lack respect and rights granted (equal rights and the vote)

Gilded age named by twain
“Gilded Age”- Named by Twain

  • Wealthy did “everything but coat themselves in gold”

  • Booming industries= railroad, meatpacking, steel, oil

  • Wealth gap Small group controlled a large portion of money

  • Rockefellers (oil) Vanderbilts (steel)

  • Inventions- model T and lightbulb

Have nots

  • Native Americans: pushed onto Reservations; fight back (Sitting Bull, Chief Joseph of Nez Pierce

  • African-Americans- free, but pressed with Jim Crow laws- segregration

  • Immigrants- worked in crowded factories, cramped living areas; 16 hour days in sweatshops

  • Independent farmers struggled to keep farms


  • Many joined Populist Party/labor unions-tried to join to protect rights

  • Laissez Faire v. Progressivism

  • Social Darwinism “Survival of the fittest”

  • Laissez Faire mentality= “Allow to do”

  • Progressives= alleviate injustices, government should DO something


  • People eager to hear about life in mining camps, cattle ranches, frontier towns- every day experience

  • Transcontinental railroad (westward expansion, travel, encounters with diversity)

  • Aim of writing- preserve cultural identity; capture imagination, alleviate prejudice: Twain and Harte

  • Literary Movement: Writers accurately represent actions, speech, dress, history, folklore, beliefs from specific geographic regions

Local color
Local Color

  • Writing that brings a region alive by portraying its dress, mannerisms, customs, character types, and speech

  • Ex- Jim from Huck Finn (The “First American Novel”)

  • Dialect, dress


  • Inspired by Darwinism

  • Offshoot of Realism

  • Harsh reality; We are helpless creatures moved by forces beyond control or understanding; fate is not in our hands

  • Jack London- tales of the arctic world- White Fang and The Call of the Wild

Women s rights
Women’s Rights

  • Fighting for right to vote/education

  • Frustration with current state; lack of support and ability to express themselves

  • Reflected Naturalist ideas- forces beyond control

  • Explore madness, ruin, scandal, death!

  • Chopin and Gilman- bad marriages, dark mental state

Twain 1835 1910
Twain 1835-1910

  • Regionalist writer

  • Samuel Langhorn Clemens

  • Grew up in Hannibal, Missouri on MS River

  • Worked in journalism industry

  • Spent four years working on the river

  • Inspired humorous sketches

  • Panned for gold in West (Jumping Frog)

Twain contd
Twain contd.

  • Traveled a lot- inspired writing greatly

  • Employed humor- expert at Satire

  • Wrote The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and Tom Sawyer

  • Huck Finn- Greatest American Novel

  • Faced bankruptcy, lost two daughters

  • Delivered humorous speeches but dark, angry writing toward end of life

A tall tale
A Tall Tale

  • American form of storytelling

  • Outlandish characters and events

  • Based on oral tradition

  • Uses various devices to impress listener:

  • Hyperbole

  • Understatement

  • Local Color

Techniques used in tall tales
Techniques used in Tall Tales

  • Hyperbole= exaggeration or overstating a point

  • Understatement=downplaying the significance of the outlandish- meant to be ironic and humorous

  • Local Color=Writing that brings a region to life by portraying dress, mannerisms, customs, character types, and speech


  • Part of local color

  • Read slowly

  • Try to say it aloud

  • “You’d see that frog whirling in the air like a doughnut- see him turn one sommmerset.”

Short story review regionalism
Short story review- Regionalism

  • Notorious Jumping Frog (Tall Tale)- Page 684: Characters, Basic plot line, Local Color, Hyperbole, Understatement

  • Outcasts of Poker Flat (Page 698) Characters, Basic plot line, Local Color

Short story review naturalism
Short Story Review- Naturalism

  • “The Law of Life” p. 770- Jack London- Characters, basic plot, Human connection with nature

  • “The Story of an Hour” p. 784- Kate Chopin- Characters, plot, irony