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American Regionalism, Realism, and Naturalism


Realist Writers Mark Twain read last yr Kate Chopin women writers unit Charlotte Perkins Gilman women writers unit Jack London ... Call of the Wild ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: American Regionalism, Realism, and Naturalism

American Regionalism, Realism, and Naturalism
  • 1860-1920(ish)

What is Realism?
  • A faithful representation of reality (concrete,
    historical) in literature
  • Emphasis on development of believable characters.
  • Written in natural dialect.
  • Emphasis on individual(s) in his/her social
  • Prominent from 1860-1890.

Realist Writers
  • Mark Twain read last yr
  • Kate Chopin women writers unit
  • Charlotte Perkins Gilman women writers unit
  • Jack London
  • Stephen Crane

Why did Realism develop?
  • The Civil War
  • The urbanization and industrialization of America
  • As a reaction to the fantasies of Romanticism
  • The emerging middle class and increasing literacy
  • Upheaval and social change in the latter half of
    the 19th century

What is Regionalism?
  • Often called local color.
  • Focuses on characters, dialect, customs,
    topography, and other features specific to a
    certain region (eg. the South)
  • Writers depicted nearly every region of the U.S.
  • A subset of Realism

Regionalist Writers
  • South Kate Chopin women writers unit, Mark
  • New England Mary Wilkins-Freeman women writers
  • West Mark Twain, John Steinbeck
  • Midwest Willa Cather (not readingbut check her
    out sometime)

What is Naturalism?
  • An extreme form of Realism which arose in the
    late 19th / early 20th century.
  • Authors emphasized the roles of heredity and
    environment, outside forces, on human characters.
  • Narrators are often objective and detached.
  • Influenced by Darwinism (natural selection-
    survival of the fittest)
  • Focuses on the idea of determinism (concept that
    human beings do not have free will)
  • Often depicts man in conflict with nature,
    society, or himself.
  • Usually dreary in tone

Why did Naturalism develop?
  • The swell of immigrants in the latter half of the
    19th century, which led to a larger lower class
    and increased poverty in the cities
  • The prominence of psychology and the theories of
    Sigmund Freud
  • Pessimism in the wake of the Civil War and
  • Publication of Charles Darwins Origin of the

Naturalist Writers
Jack London
Stephen Crane
Jack London (1876-1916)
  • Prolific writer of The Call of the Wild (1903),
    The Sea-Wolf (1904), and 18 other novels, 200
    stories, over 400 nonfiction works
  • First American writer to become millionaire from
    being an author
  • Father abandoned family. Supported himself
    working from age 13
  • Attended UC-Berkeley for one semester in 1896
  • An adventurer Traveled in Yukon in winter 1897.
    Crossed the Pacific in small boat (1907-09)
    helped popularize Hawaii as tourist destination

To Build a Fire
Alaska and the Yukon Territory
Nature vs. Civilization
A Man against .Nature .His
Dog .Himself
Stephen Crane (1871-1900)
  • Writer most famous for novel The Red Badge of
    Courage (1895), about a young mans experience of
    Civil War
  • After Red Badge, became correspondent in Cuban
    insurrection, 1897
  • Jan. 1897 En route to Cuba, steamer The
    Commodore sank off Florida Crane published
    newspaper account and later the short story The
    Open Boat
  • 1900 Died of tuberculosis

The Open Boat
The Commodore
  • About the indifference of nature and the
    necessity for each person to confront that
    indifference independently
  • About the ability of people to work together to
    make meaning (be civilized) despite natures
    indifference (unlike To Build a Fire)

Mosquito Inlet Lighthouse
Points to Remember
Nature rules!
  • Realism, Regionalism, and Naturalism are
    intertwined and connected. (Most Realist authors
    are either Regionalist or Naturalist)
  • Their influence has dominated most literature
    created since 1920, though the movement itself is
    dated to roughly that point.
  • They are truly American modes of writing.
  • And
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