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American Literary Realism

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Presentation on theme: "American Literary Realism"— Presentation transcript:

1 American Literary Realism

2 What’s going on in the world?
Industrial Revolution Industry, urban living, nitty gritty reality Machinery and factories take over agrarian society Immigrants flock to the US

3 What’s going on in the world?
Socially and politically, the end of Civil War signaled a time of healing and rebuilding But in literary circles, there was a lot of conflict and upheaval Out with the Romanticism In with the Realism

4 Literature Mirrors Life
We know that literature mirrors reality and we also know that each subsequent genre believes itself to be superior to the one before it, so…. Something had to change

5 Again… Each literary movement is a break from the previous one, in this case: Romanticism Realism is any effort to portray life as it truly is. In the middle of the 19th century, kings and queens, warriors and knights, demonic cats, ghosts, sea creatures, and monsters gave way to farmers, merchants, lawyers, laborers, and bakers. Realism in literature was part of a wider movement in the arts to focus on ordinary people and events

6 Personal Perspective *The belief in individual power:
Romantics – a god Realists – simply a person Naturalists – a helpless object

7 A new way of thinking Realists Naturalists
A person has choices and some freewill, but environment and others can hamper those choices Individuals have no choice because a person’s life is dictated by heredity and the external environment. Naturalists are also connected to nature

8 Important… “Realism and Naturalism are often linked due to their emphasis on realistic people in realistic settings, featuring ordinary people struggling against unseen forces over which they have no control. Realism and Naturalism differ insomuch that Realism focuses on literary technique whereas Naturalism focuses on a specific philosophy.

9 The Naturalists Believed humans responded to the world around them much like animals did, driven by fear, hunger, and sex People are often portrayed as victims of destiny or fate Nature is indifferent Did not hold much stock in human capabilities

10 Regionalism This writing was regional, emphasizing specific geographic settings and made use of the speech and manners of the people that live in that region.

11 Characteristics of Realism
They drew on the grim realities of life, the breakdown of traditional values, and the growing plight of the new urban poor (read ghettoes). 2. Realists built their plots and characters on ordinary, everyday lives. They clearly communicated the complexities of the human experience.

12 Dead giveaway that you are reading realist literature
take subject matter from ordinary life. Influenced by the spread of democracy in Europe and North America. Middle and lower class citizens were becoming increasingly important. Detailed settings became important as a means of establishing the realistic nature of main characters and places. Dialect became popular as did an emphasis on local color.

13 And more clues… Realists concern themselves with ethical issues.
Conflict often involves a moral dilemma faced by one of its participants– a dilemma that is portrayed accurately, honestly, and in detail.

14 Identifying characteristics of realistic writing
The philosophy of Realism is known as "descendental" or non-transcendental. The subject matter of Realism is drawn from "our experience," - it treated the common, the average, the non-extreme, the representative, the probable.

15 Some of the main players
Ambrose Bierce Kate Chopin Jack London Mark Twain Bret Harte

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