My Account
Preview
Preview

Heroes of American Realism Essay

No Works Cited
Length: 1958 words (5.6 double-spaced pages)
Rating: Blue      
Open Document
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

Heroes of American Realism

The American realists of the late 19th century were notably adept at creating deep, memorable characters --whether virtuous or villainous-- who are continuously developed throughout the tales in which they exist. These authors often used their protagonists for a higher purpose than mere storytelling, endeavoring to construct a critique of the times by placing the characters in opposition to their respective societies. As a result, the protagonist often becomes an unassuming type of hero to the reader, by courageously (or obtusely) defying convention, and doubting the ignorant assumptions of society. Three such characters that were born of American realism are found in the novels The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain; Daisy Miller, by Henry James; and Sister Carrie, by Theodore Dreiser -- and the characters of interest to this paper happen to be the very same after which these novels are titled. Though these three stories are vastly different, each places its protagonist in a testing environment, against challenging obstacles and dilemmas. The characters' responses to their difficulties often show their heroism, or lack thereof, and, consequently, these characters gain esteem, to some degree, in the eyes of the reader. I will discuss each of these characters' heroic qualities, in contrast to his shortcomings, which are both elicited by the numerous obstacles that he must overcome, and I will thus determine to what extent each can be considered a `hero'.

In a thorough analysis of heroism, it is necessary to stipulate the meaning of this word, and thereby establish a satisfactory base for conjecture. `Heroism' in this paper shall simply include strength of character, sound morality...


... middle of paper ...


... be swept away into materialism and the mad scramble for fortune, then capitalism must be evil in itself. Therefore, Carrie's vulnerability and weakness of character are necessary for Dreiser's message, and her failures are to be learned from.

In conclusion, I found Huckleberry Finn to be the most obvious hero, for he resisted convention to help his friend. Daisy Miller acts admirably, but without a purpose for her behavior, she is merely a puppet used by Henry James to make a point. Finally, Sister Carrie is the least heroic of the three, for her pursuits are shallow and materialistic, and eventually prove themselves so through her failed acquisition of happiness. Regardless of the extent of each character's heroic qualities, each serves the purpose of the author who created them, making a valuable statement about the follies of humankind.

(no works cited)


Click the button above to view the complete essay, speech, term paper, or research paper








This essay is 100% guaranteed.


Title Length Color Rating  
The Fallacy of the American Dream Essay - “The essence of the American dream is the understanding that we are here on this earth and in this land for a higher purpose…Anything that stands in the way of the dream, we must fight. Anything that enhances the dream, we must support.” Steve Forbes could not have said it better. The American Dream is continuing to prosper and flourish since our founding fathers sat together in a room and created a document in which every man may follow. For years the idea of the American Dream has been sturdy, however, as America aged so did the idea of the American Dream....   [tags: Essays on the American Dream ] 833 words
(2.4 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Essay on Unequaled Realism in Margaret Fleming - James Herne's Margaret Fleming is surprisingly bold and realistic in regard to the time period in which it was written. The subject of infidelity is dealt with candidly, and other aspects, such as the breast-feeding of an infant, are depicted in a true-to-life form. The content, then, seems quite modern for the play's 1890 date. Yet, Herne is the successor of a playwright like Henrik Ibsen rather than Bronson Howard or, even, Augustin Daly. As Watt and Richardson note, Margaret Fleming is "unequaled in realism by any other known American drama of its century" (236, emphasis mine)....   [tags: Biography Biographies Essays] 737 words
(2.1 pages)
Better Essays [preview]
The Impact of Romanticism, Realism, Naturalism, and Local Color on The Awakening -         Four major literary movements can claim some aspect of The Awakening, for in this "small compass . . . [is illustrated] virtually all the major American intellectual and literary trends of the nineteenth century" (Skaggs, 80).    The Romantic movement marked a profound shift in sensibilities away from the Enlightenment. It was inspired by reaction to that period's concepts of clarity, order, and balance, and by the revolutions in America, France, Poland, and Greece. It expressed the assertion of the self, the power of the individual, a sense of the infinite, and transcendental nature of the universe....   [tags: Chopin Awakening Essays]
:: 4 Works Cited
1330 words
(3.8 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Essay on Realism and Naturalism in American Literature Stories - There are two dominate aspects of Realism (Social Rules & Morality), and two dominate laws of Naturalism (Environment & Determinism), that comes into play in the American Literature stories of Daisy Miller ,Frank James, and Jack London. According to one authoritative source (Britannica), realism in its basic form in Literature is a literary style in which the author describes the reality of persons (people) in detail to resemble their actions, emotions, and environment. The strengths and weaknesses are blended in with the characteristics of their flawed personalities by not being completely good or evil, weak or strong....   [tags: American Literature] 1479 words
(4.2 pages)
Powerful Essays [preview]
Influence of Realism on Literature Essay - Influence of Realism on Literature After World War I, American people and the authors among them were left disillusioned by the effects that war had on their society. America needed a literature that would explain what had happened and what was happening to their society. American writers turned to what is now known as modernism. The influence of 19th Century realism and naturalism and their truthful representation of American life and people was evident in post World War I modernism....   [tags: Literature Realism]
:: 6 Works Cited
2162 words
(6.2 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Magical Realism: History and Theory Essay - Magical Realism: History and Theory Magical Realism to me is the world's view of literature and art combined. It has a vast amount of characteristics that most, if not all, Magical realist fiction shares. Magical Realism has a lot of content to be studied in order to fully understand it. The term magical realism was first introduced by Franz Roh in 1925. He was a German art critic who started the idea of magical realism when he saw a new direction in painting. He used the term to characterize his paintings....   [tags: Realist Latin American Literature Essays]
:: 4 Works Cited
957 words
(2.7 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
The History and Theory of Magical Realism Essay - The History and Theory of Magical Realism Magical Realism is one of today's most popular subjects in literature to discuss regarding its history and theory of Magical Realism. It began in the Latin culture and now is known word wide for its attributes. Magical Realism is even rivaling some of the great masterpieces of modern and past literature. Someday Magical Realism will be recognized and respected just as the classics are today. Magical Realism supposedly began in 1935 with its golden age occurring between 1940 and 1950.The Magical Realism of Spanish and Latin America can be somewhat attributed to the social, political, and European influence....   [tags: Literature Magical Realism Essays]
:: 2 Works Cited
1041 words
(3 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Outlaw Heroes in Literature Essay example - Outlaw Heroes in Literature In "The Thematic Paradigm", Robert Ray explains how there are two distinctly different heroes, the outlaw hero and the official hero. The official hero embraces common values and traditional beliefs, while the outlaw has a clear sense of right and wrong but operates above the law (Ray). Ray explains how the role of an outlaw hero has many traits....   [tags: Literature Hero Heroes] 790 words
(2.3 pages)
Good Essays [preview]
Essay on Magical Realism - Magical Realism The idea of a genre of art that is called magical realism is less a trend than a tradition, an evolving genre that has its waxings and wanings, where each evolving form expresses an idea that may overlap another, yet at the same time branches off and creates something very different. What began in the visual arts has become a contemporary literary genre due to divergences. Contemporary Latin American writers of this mode include Alejo Carpentier, Jorge Luis Borges, Isabel Allende, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Octavio Paz, Pablo Neruda, and Majorie Agosin....   [tags: Magical Realism Essays]
:: 1 Works Cited
1245 words
(3.6 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]
Magical Realism Essay examples - To many critics of the genre, Magical Realism is nothing but updated children's tales being passed off as substantial literature, but if we look deeper, the essence of this movement is bared to the viewer. By looking at the history and origins of Magical Realism, as well as the term itself, we can begin to understand the importance of this writing style in today's society. The roots behind Magical Realism are found in many cultures, but the literature is mainly attributed to South American writers, such as Gabriel Garcia Marquez....   [tags: Magical Realism Essays]
:: 1 Works Cited
583 words
(1.7 pages)
Strong Essays [preview]