Realism
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Realism. American Literature. Realism. reaction to Romantic ideals of the previous generation(s). defined as "the faithful representation of reality”. Realist authors not afraid to write about REAL subjects like war, death, prostitution, etc. Realism.

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Realism

Realism

American Literature


Realism1

Realism

  • reaction to Romantic ideals of the previous generation(s).

  • defined as "the faithful representation of reality”.

  • Realist authors not afraid to write about REAL subjects like war, death, prostitution, etc.


Realism2

Realism

  • Although strictly speaking, realism is a technique, it also refers to a particular kind of subject matter, especially the representation of middle-class life.

  • ”Realism" is difficult to define, in part because it is used differently in European contexts than in American literature.


Realism3

Realism

  • Time period: from Civil War to the turn of the century

  • fiction devoted to accurate representation and exploration of American lives in various contexts.


Realist elements

Realist Elements


Reality realistic portrayal of life events

Reality– realistic portrayal of life/events

  • Details, however bleak, are realistic

  • Stephen Crane actually lived on the streets as a homeless man to research for his book Maggie: A Girl of the Streets.


Complex ethical choices

Complex ethical choices

  • In Maggie: A Girl of the Streets, you see a smart, promising young woman, who is placed in a difficult spot when her family rejects her, and you journey with her as she fights to survive on the streets as a prostitute.


Focus on the middle class

Focus on the middle class

  • Jack London’s “To Build a Fire” is a short story about simple, middle class men during the gold rush, trying to survive in the elements.


Natural vernacular

Natural vernacular

  • writes like the local people speak

  • Stephen Crane’s The Red Badge of Courage, is an excellent example of the vernacular speech used by the soldiers in the story.

  • And, of course, Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn is famously known for its purposeful use of the local, Southern dialect.


Objective view point

Objective view point

  • The Realists did not view it as their job to influence the readers’ opinions, but rather to simply provide the story/information.

  • Ambrose Bierce’s “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge” doesn’t offer an opinion on the events – merely describes them as they happen


Humans in relation to nature

Humans in relation to nature

  • Jack London is famous for his stories of man interacting with nature, such as “To Build a Fire.”


Portrays man as simply a person

Portrays man as simply a person

  • People are nothing special or extraordinary

  • Real, raw characters in real situations that are still fictional.

  • Characters are not celebrated for being perfect, but just recognized for being human and doing their best in a difficult situation.


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