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American Realism


American Realism No More Romantic Sunshine & Rainbows Origins/Influences 1850/60-1890/1910 -Began during the Civil War & continued into the early 20th century ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: American Realism

American Realism
  • No More Romantic Sunshine Rainbows

  • 1850/60-1890/1910
  • -Began during the Civil War continued into the
    early 20th century
  • Reaction to idealism of Romanticism
    Transcendentalism CONTRAST
  • - Literary civil war!
  • Fertile literary environment
  • Rising middle class literacy rates

Social/Political Context
  • Reaction to Civil War suffering
  • Invention of photograph
  • Captured true life
  • Increased literacy democracy public hungry
    for truth awareness
  • Abolitionism post-slavery stories
  • Dark side of America
  • Origins of Muckraking journalism
  • Expose corruption, particularly political
    corporate (continues today)
  • Literature affected tried to do the same

Realism Values/Beliefs
  • Contrasts with Romanticism/Transcendentalism
  • Describes life w/out Romantic subjectivity
  • Romantics transcend the immediate to find the
    ideal Realists focus on the immediate, the here
    now and its consequences
  • Present life as it is, not as it might be thus,
    purpose of writing is to instruct entertain
  • Multiple views of life all classes, races,
  • Particularly lower/middle classes
  • Highlight class stratification/inequity
  • Reveal the ugliness and cruelty of life but leave
    conclusions to the reader
  • Like Romantics, progressive, but stimulated
    change through telling a story that reveals
    truth, not preaching (OBJECTIVE left readers to
    draw their own conclusions)

Literary Conventions
  • Characters product of social environmental
  • Often poorly educated or lower class
  • Renders reality closely often in minute detail,
    even at the expense of plot
  • Settings usually familiar to the writer
  • Character more important than plot
  • Plausible events avoid sensational, overly
    dramatic elements
  • - However, some do explore the psychological
    journey as a form of subjective reality but in a
    negative way
  • Usually uses the omniscient point of view

Conventions Cont.
  • Natural vernacular/speech, not heightened or
    poetic (like the Romantics)
  • Written just as spoken
  • Tone is comic, satiric, or matter-of-fact
  • Considers seemingly ordinary uninteresting
    characters/events in order to extract full value
    true meaning
  • Simple stories far more complex than they appear
  • Realistically conveyed sexuality, both its dark
    and light sides.

Regionalism Psychological Realism
  • Regionalism focuses on small geographical area
    in attempt to reproduce speech mannerisms
  • Psychological Fiction character perspectiveas
    real as any reality

  • Branch of Realism
  • Philosophical position scientific laws control
  • Heavily influenced by Darwinism
  • Natural Selection/Survival of the Fittest
  • Darker more fatalistic (fatalistic determined
    by fate not choice)
  • Lives governed by heredity, instinct, passion
    nature NOT nurture.
  • Forces beyond a characters control restrict
    attempts to exercise free will or choice
  • More negative than other branches of Realism
  • Authors
  • Jack London
  • Call of the Wild, To Build a Fire
  • Stephen Crane
  • Maggie Girl of the Street
  • Henry James
  • Portrait of a Lady, Daisy Miller
  • John Steinbeck
  • Of Mice Men (debatable)

Famous Authors
  • Mark Twain
  • Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
  • Stephen Crane
  • Red Badge of Courage, The Open Boat, A Mystery
    of Heroism
  • Upton Sinclair
  • The Jungle
  • Frederick Douglass
  • - Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass
  • William Dean Howells
  • Bret Harte
  • Rebecca Harding Davis
  • Kate Chopin
  • Story of an Hour, Desirees Baby, The
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