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Short Story: Naturalism

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Short Story: Naturalism & Impressionism (Crane, etc.) NATURALISM offbranch of Realism, with similar foci applies principles of scientific determinism to literature ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Short Story: Naturalism


1
Short StoryNaturalism Impressionism
  • (Crane, etc.)

2
  • NATURALISM
  • offbranch of Realism, with similar foci
  • applies principles of scientific determinism to
    literature
  • NEWTON mechanistic determinism world runs by
    rational predictable systems cause/effect
  • DARWIN biological determinism humans just other
    animals, distinguished only by sentience
    (self-awareness) and thought, but still ruled by
    biological needs (sex, food, shelter) and genetic
    proclivities
  • MARX socio-economic determinism history as
    battlefield of (economic social) forces beyond
    individual control class struggle/warfare,
    individuals act out of own interests
  • (FREUD, later) psychological determinism humans
    controlled by subconscious drives (neurosis,
    psychosis, phobia, mania) they cannot control

3
  • Nature in Naturalism
  • Everything real (objects, actions, forces) exists
    in Naturetherefore, knowable through objective
    observations
  • No supernatural realities exist (goodbye God
    heaven!)
  • Humans respond to environmental forces, internal
    stresses and drives they neither understand nor
    control
  • Humans as victims of environment, heredity,
    Fate
  • Human illusion of influence or control in their
    lives/world
  • Human illusion of comprehending or accurately
    reading the world

4
  • Natures indifference to humans
  • Humans just other animals
  • frank/realistic portrayal of human animals
    driven by fundamental urges
  • Narrative does not take sides
  • Neither praises nor condemns humans for their
    actions (b/c beyond their control anyway)
  • Usually pessimistic about human capabilities
    life as a vicious trap
  • Universe as amoral
  • Universe not out to get humans, but not out to
    help them either
  • Fate as metaphor for universal indifference
    you simply get what you get
  • No design, no teleology fate only
    after-the-fact

5
  • If Naturalism the idea, Impressionism the
    style/execution
  • Literary impressionism
  • Similar to Impressionism in visual arts (Monet,
    etc.)
  • Interested not in external notion of objective
    reality, but in actual physical appearance of a
    scene to the eye
  • Emphasizes immediate physical sensation over
    thoughtful conceptualization
  • Sacrifices external conventional description
    (where have time to think about details) for
    immediacy of confusing impressions (in the middle
    of experiencing a situation or scene)

6
  • visual impressionism portrays how the eye/mind
    actually sees (brief, small details immediately
    registered, not every plane in focus at same
    time)
  • literary impressionism depicts reality as
    actually immediately experienced (as a rush of
    events or emotions with cause-and-effect
    relations but no other deeper meaning unless
    interpreted and supplied by the reader)
  • Lack of coherence between elements and images
    reflects lack of moral concern for humans in
    mechanistic world
  • (later Modernist writers like Woolf, Hemingway,
    Steinbeck, etc. take this to even greater
    lengths)
  • Often, narrator exposition but not intrusion (b/c
    no moralizing commentary possible)
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