2 Realism“The Civil War was a violent clash, not just of armies, but of ideas. Who was right, and who was wrong? What did it mean to be an American? Was any price too high to pay to keep the nation whole?”
3 What is Realism? A faithful representation of reality in literature A reaction against RomanticismEmphasis on development of believable characters.Written in natural vernacular, or dialect.Prominent from
4 Realist Writers Walt Whitman Emily Dickinson Frederick Douglass Abraham LincolnAmbrose Bierce
5 What brought about Realism? Cultural DivideThe surging cost of life resulting from the Civil War caused Americans to turn away from idealism and focus instead on the hard realities of lifeThe South felt slaves were a necessity for their agricultural way of life while the Northern economy focused on trade and industryThe Civil WarThe urbanization and industrialization of AmericaIncreasing rates of democracy and literacyThe emerging middle class
6 Regionalism and Naturalism “Vast, varied, filled with seemingly limitless possibilities – that was the United States in the years following the Civil War. Yet, all around them in this land of hope and opportunity, writers saw fellow Americans living lives of hardship and even despair. Regionalism tried to capture the reality of ordinary people’s lives; naturalism searched for explanations.”
7 Regionalism Often called “local color.” Focuses on characters, dialect, customs, topography, and other features specific to a certain region (eg. the South)Coincided with Realism and sharing many of the same traits.Prominent from
8 Why did Regionalism develop? The Civil War and the building of a national identityAn outgrowth of realism with an emphasis on a particular setting and its influence over characters
10 What is Naturalism?Applied scientific principles of objectivity and detachment to the study of human beings.Influenced by Darwinism (natural selection) and psychology (Freud)Posited that men were governed by heredity and environment.Often depict man in conflict with nature, society, or himself.
11 Naturalist Writers Stephen Crane Jack London Charlotte Perkins Gilman Edith Wharton
12 Why did Naturalism develop? The swell of immigrants in the latter half of the 19th century, which led to a larger lower class and increased poverty in the citiesThe prominence of psychology and the theories of Sigmund FreudPessimism in the wake of the Civil War and ReconstructionPublication of Charles Darwin’s Origin of the Species
13 Points to Remember…Realism, Regionalism, and Naturalism are intertwined and connected.Their influence has dominated most literature created since 1910, though the movement itself is dated to roughly that point.They are truly American modes of writing. Much of what we value as classic American literature was written during this time.