realism paper final

realism paper final - McLean Murphy Rossell Elizabeth...

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McLean, Murphy, Rossell Elizabeth McLean, Kayla Murphy, Graham Rossell November 4, 2011 “Realism and Naturalism” In the mid-nineteenth century, there began to be a shift from the polite literary movement of Romanticism to the more rational movement of Realism, and later Naturalism. Authors strove to portray realistic situations and characters and move away from the flowery language preferred by Romantic writers. Given these characteristics, “The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County” by Samuel Clemens and “The Open Boat” by Stephen Crane are excellent examples of realism and naturalism, respectively. American realism is a cultural movement which began in the United States at the end of the Civil War and lasted through the mid- to late-19th century. During this time period, the United States experienced a great shift towards urbanization and industrialization. A nationwide shift away from agriculturally based economies created more jobs in cities, making movement away from rural areas more popular. Along with this movement, there was a marked increase in immigration rates, leading to a swelling middle class. These factors led to widespread and consequently literacy rates rose dramatically. In the context of the social issues of the time period, realism has been described as a “strategy for imagining and managing the threats of social change” (Campbell). Realism in American literature was born primarily out of an irritation with economic and social conditions. Realism existed as a reaction against romanticism and an effort to depict every day, middle-class life. The realist approach to literature is concerned with a scientific documentation of history and the reality of life. Other literary forms, namely romanticism, could not accurately describe life as it was (Berthoff 4). Realism offered a style which provided a strong and direct portrait of life as many Americans knew it. American realism is characterized by its attention to the development of characters which is
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McLean, Murphy, Rossell prioritized over is development of the plot. Similarly, attention to detail in order to convey an accurate reality is often so great that elements of the plot are sacrificed. Class structure as a central conflict is evident in almost all realist works. Often, the characters depicted are middle-class and struggles of class are a common theme. The events of a realistic work are always realistic and plausible, lacking any supernatural or especially dramatic elements (Pizer 1). Narration of the realist work lacks a poetic aspect and is often very matter-of-fact. In conjunction with a straightforward narration, the objectivity of the narrator is of utmost importance. The overall goal of realism was to portray life as it actually was. A reliable, objective narrator is crucial to that goal (Campbell).
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This note was uploaded on 01/19/2012 for the course ENGL 4000 taught by Professor Douglasanderson during the Fall '11 term at UGA.

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realism paper final - McLean Murphy Rossell Elizabeth...

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