1.a manner of treating subject matter that presents a careful description of everyday life,usually of the lower and middle classes. 2. a theory of writing in which the ordinary, familiar, or mundane aspects of life are represented in a straightforward or matter-of-fact manner that is presumed to reflect life as it actually is. Compare naturalism(def 1b). Chaucer's realism:The British society in transition gave an impetus to the Englishman's intrinsic love of travel, fresh air, good fellowship, gossip, story telling and music. He sought an outlet for all these in the pilgrimages he undertook. According to him, pilgrims were united in their desire though not in their objectives. The journey generally turned out to be a holiday outing with an air of carnival about it. These piligrims constituted a heterogeneous group ofmen and women drawn from different social classes pursuing different avocations. Maintaining a rigid distinction between one class and other had become a thing of the past. The vast canvas of prologuedepicts thechanging social system. The priest and the layman, the poet and the lawyer, the scholar and the artisan could get together on terms of near equality. It would be fairy easy to reconstruct the modes and values of social life
from reading of the general prologue to theCanterbury taleswith very near historical accuracy. In this prologue, Chaucer does not let go a single detail of dress or character that would add credence to the story recorded.Chaucer's thought about the characters in Tales:The piligrims in the "Prologue" can be broadly divided into two groups, namely religious and secular. This dicision depends on their avocations rather than their attitudes. There is high degree of realism in Chaucer's portaiture of the men and women. The realism is indicative of the general incompatibility between profession and practice, especially in respect of ecclesiastical piligrims. Chaucer indicates the blurring of social distinctions in the way he marshals his pilgrims. The religious and secular groups are posed between the distinct groups. The dubious status of the eccelesiastical group consisting of the Monk, Friar, the Nun, the Parson, the clerk of Oxford and the Summoner is thrown into relef.The feudal group of the Knight and Squire drawn with nostalgic respect owas slowly passing into the past to the rising middle class represented by yeomanry and the urban professional and merchant classes. On another plane, the rise of middle class ensuring greater economic advancement also meant the ascendency of material values in life. Consistent with spirit of the times, religion was practiced more as a profession than a vocation calling for dedicated service. Observing this tendency among the contemporary men of religion, Chaucer draws their portraits with amusing irony.