English 11 Unit 3 American Regionalism, Realism, and Naturalism - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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English 11 Unit 3 American Regionalism, Realism, and Naturalism


Title: American Regionalism, Realism, and Naturalism Author: Dana Huff Last modified by: Cotton, Aleecia Created Date: 12/8/2005 2:40:26 AM Document presentation format – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: English 11 Unit 3 American Regionalism, Realism, and Naturalism

English 11 Unit 3 American Regionalism, Realism,
and Naturalism
  • 1860-1920

Historical Context
  • The post-Civil War period
  • America was reunited and transformed
  • Writers worked to define Americas differing
    regions and come to terms with some harsh new
  • Romantic notions seem silly after a great war

Aftermath of The Civil War
  • The South was in ruins after The Civil War
  • Slavery was abolished, but freed African
    Americans lacked money, property, education, and
  • Many farms, factories, and plantations were
  • The government came up with a plan, known as
    reconstruction, to solve these problems

Reconstructions Failures and Successes
  • Reconstruction efforts did not go smoothly
  • The President and Congress clashed
  • Southern states resisted African Americans new
  • African Americans felt not enough was being done
  • Few Successes
  • African Americans gained citizenship, protection
    under the law, and the right to vote
  • Confederate states returned to the Union
  • States were glad to be reunited but missed their
    regional identities (rise of regionalism)

Post-Civil War Changes
  • Transcontinental Railroad
  • Many people traveling West
  • Westward expansion seen in local color writing
  • Railroad expanded industry
  • Cities grew dramatically, but most money was in
    the hands of only a few
  • Photos Building the transcontinental railroad

The Gilded Age
  • After The Civil War, there was a time of excess
    and wealth for a large portion of Americans.
  • Mark Twain referred to this period as the gilded
  • Inventions
  • Telephone
  • Model-T Ford
  • Light bulb (and hundreds of others Edison)

The Have-Nots
  • While this period was great for some, it was not
    for others.
  • Native Americans and African Americans had a very
    hard time
  • Reconstructions failures
  • Segregationist Jim Crow laws
  • Many immigrants came to America hoping for a
    better life, and found themselves working long
    hours in sweat shops
  • Creation of labor unions
  • Many people felt held back by forces beyond their
  • Led to rise of naturalism

What is Realism?
  • A faithful representation of reality in
  • Emphasis on development of believable characters.
  • Written in natural vernacular, or dialect.
  • Prominent from 1860-1890.

Realist Writers
  • Mark Twain
  • William Dean Howells
  • Henry James
  • Edgar Lee Masters

Why did Realism develop?
  • The Civil War
  • The urbanization and industrialization of America
  • As a reaction to Romanticism
  • Increasing rates of democracy and literacy
  • The emerging middle class
  • 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 wanted to capture these things to
    preserve regional identities
  • Coincided with Realism and sharing many of the
    same traits.
  • Prominent from 1865-1895.

Regionalist Writers
  • Kate ChopinSouth
  • Charlotte Perkins GilmanNew England
  • Mark TwainWest
  • Willa CatherMidwest

Why did Regionalism develop?
  • Dual influence of Romanticism and Realism
  • The Civil War and the building of a national
  • An outgrowth of realism with more focus on a
    particular setting and its influence over

What is Naturalism?
  • Applied scientific principles of objectivity and
    detachment to the study of human beings.
  • Influenced by Darwinism (natural selection) and
    psychology (Freud)
  • Posited that men were governed by heredity and
  • Often victims of their circumstances
  • Often depict man in conflict with nature,
    society, or himself.
  • Prominent from 1880-1920(ish)

Naturalist Writers
  • Stephen Crane
  • Jack London
  • Edith Wharton

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 (urban
  • 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

Points to Remember
  • Realism, Regionalism, and Naturalism are
    intertwined and connected.
  • 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.
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