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American Regionalism, Realism, and Naturalism 1860-1920(ish)

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Presentation on theme: "American Regionalism, Realism, and Naturalism 1860-1920(ish)"— Presentation transcript:

1 American Regionalism, Realism, and Naturalism (ish)

2 What is Realism?  A faithful representation of reality (concrete, historical) in literature  Emphasis on development of believable characters.  Written in natural dialect.  Emphasis on individual(s) in his/her social environment  Prominent from

3 Realist Writers  Mark Twain read last yr  Kate Chopin women writers unit  Charlotte Perkins Gilman women writers unit  Jack London*  Stephen Crane*

4 Why did Realism develop?  The Civil War  The urbanization and industrialization of America  As a reaction to the fantasies of Romanticism  The emerging middle class and increasing literacy rates  Upheaval and social change in the latter half of the 19 th century

5 What is Regionalism?  Often called “local color.”  Focuses on characters, dialect, customs, topography, and other features specific to a certain region (eg. the South)  Writers depicted nearly every region of the U.S.  A subset of Realism

6 Regionalist Writers  South: Kate Chopin women writer’s unit, Mark Twain  New England: Mary Wilkins-Freeman women writer’s unit  West: Mark Twain, John Steinbeck  Midwest: Willa Cather (not reading…but check her out sometime)

7 What is Naturalism?  An extreme form of Realism which arose in the late 19 th / early 20 th century.  Authors emphasized the roles of heredity and environment, outside forces, on human characters.  Narrators are often objective and detached.  Influenced by Darwinism (natural selection- “survival of the fittest”)  Focuses on the idea of determinism (concept that human beings do not have free will)  Often depicts man in conflict with nature, society, or himself.  Usually dreary in tone

8 Why did Naturalism develop?  The swell of immigrants in the latter half of the 19 th century, which led to a larger lower class and increased poverty in the cities  The prominence of psychology and the theories of Sigmund Freud  Pessimism in the wake of the Civil War and Reconstruction  Publication of Charles Darwin’s Origin of the Species

9 Naturalist Writers Jack LondonStephen Crane

10 Jack London ( )  Prolific writer of The Call of the Wild (1903), The Sea-Wolf (1904), and 18 other novels, 200 stories, over 400 nonfiction works  First American writer to become millionaire from being an author  Father abandoned family. Supported himself working from age 13  Attended UC-Berkeley for one semester in 1896  An adventurer: Traveled in Yukon in winter Crossed the Pacific in small boat ( ); helped popularize Hawaii as tourist destination

11 “To Build a Fire” Alaska and the Yukon Territory A Man against… ….Nature ….His Dog ….Himself Nature vs. Civilization

12 Stephen Crane ( )  Writer most famous for novel The Red Badge of Courage (1895), about a young man’s experience of Civil War  After Red Badge, became correspondent in Cuban insurrection, 1897  Jan. 1897: En route to Cuba, steamer The Commodore sank off Florida; Crane published newspaper account and later the short story “The Open Boat”  1900: Died of tuberculosis

13 “The Open Boat” The Commodore Mosquito Inlet Lighthouse About the indifference of nature and the necessity for each person to confront that indifference independently About the ability of people to work together to make meaning (be civilized) despite nature’s indifference (unlike “To Build a Fire”)

14 Points to Remember…  Realism, Regionalism, and Naturalism are intertwined and connected. (Most Realist authors are either Regionalist or Naturalist)  Their influence has dominated most literature created since 1920, though the movement itself is dated to roughly that point.  They are truly American modes of writing.  And… Nature rules!


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