Presentation on theme: "Kate Chopin 1850-1904. Naturalism in “The Storm” “ So the storm passed and every one was happy” (Chopin 143)."— Presentation transcript:
Naturalism in “The Storm” “ So the storm passed and every one was happy” (Chopin 143).
Sometimes naturalism is used in exchange for “realism,” but should refer to literature in the late 19 th and early 20 th centuries in America, France and England. See Holman and Harmon Handbook for more.
Basics of Naturalism Literary use of Scientific Determinism All that happens is determined by natural forces One thing happens, causing another thing, causing the next thing to happen... There is no free will; we cannot choose; we just react to natural forces and events.
Naturalism's Determinism People's actions are determined by Physical, mechanical forces Biological forces Economic and social forces Subconscious (psychological) forces Environmental forces
You can see determinism at work today in the way we explain people's behavior based on How they were raised A psychological illness A chemical imbalance Where they grew up What their parents were like A major life experience
Naturalism gives less attention to Personal responsibility Personal freedom or choice Personal ability to change The human soul
Chopin's “The Storm” lets us begin to investigate some of these aspects of Naturalism and Realism. The story, and Chopin's other writings, go beyond Naturalism, as she is concerned with characters who seek to break out of their social and environmental circles. “The Storm”, however, is enlightening in its suggestion that natural forces may not be controllable. We can start here with Naturalism and go farther when we get to London's “To Build a Fire”.
Look for natural forces The affair is framed by the storm The rain that tries to force its way under the door (139) The lightning that “filled all visible space with a blinding glare and the crash seemed to invade the very boards they stood upon” (140).
Can the two resist? Do they weigh the moral question of the affair? Is the affair planned? What sudden occurrence throws them together? Could it be prevented?
The force of the storm, and Chopin's presentation of the affair as sudden, with no time to think or choose, points to the idea that Chopin would say the affair is Natural Inevitable A-moral or at least not immoral.
Your book points out that Chopin had an affair after her own husband died. Her writing reflects her belief that affairs are not harmful to marriage. In making this literary argument, Chopin is writing as a Realist as well as a Naturalist. She is challenging traditional belief with what she perceives to be a realistic vision. Do you agree that the story is realistic?
Feminism One reason we might NOT say Chopin is a Naturalist is due to her celebration of women who seek to find their own identity and refuse to conform to the social norms laid out for them. In “The Storm” Calixta is not the typical weak heroine who is swept away, or overpowered by a lover. Instead, she participates in the affair as fully as Alcee, and has no regrets.
Or, and here the question will be left for you to answer, Does Chopin believe affairs are natural and inevitable? Does Chopin believe that it is as UN-realistic to expect fidelity from women as men? How do you see Chopin's presentation of men and women as more realistic than the traditional social view of her day? How doe you see her presentation of men and women as less realistic?
Your Assignment Part 1 of 2 Please post a response to both parts of the question on the previous slide, namely: How do you see Chopin's presentation of men and women as more realistic than the traditional social view of her day? How doe you see her presentation of men and women as less realistic?
Assignment Part 2 of 2 Please post a reply to one of your classmate's responses. Remember to be respectful and polite in your reply even when disagreeing.