The Effect of Cultural and Historical Situations on American Literature

The Effect of Cultural and Historical Situations on American Literature

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Professor Brattoli ”American literature is almost always tied to historical and social events of the era in which it was written.”

There is a connection between literary works from different time periods. This connection is how history, current events and social events have impacted American Literature. Literary works and writing styles have been affected and influence by the world around us. This is seen in many of the works assigned for this class.

In order to see how cultural and historical situations affect literature throughout history, it is important to get a brief history on each era discussed in this paper. The first era we will be reviewing will be writings from 1865-1914. The Civil War was just ending in 1865. America lost over a half of million Americans in the war. The nation was in a state of disorder and the south was devastated. Nevertheless, the country prospered. America became industrialized and saw innovations such as the railroads, telegraph, telephone, and electricity. Population increased due to immigration.
Between the years of 1865 and 1914, American literature was mainly comprised of three writing styles; realism, regionalism, and naturalism. Realism aims to portray life realistically. Though realism’s subject matter concentrated on the middle class, it showed the concerns and commonplace events of its time period. Regionalism and local color is a specific type of realism. It worked to record a distinctive way of life. Regionalism often showed regional dialect, food, clothing styles and customs of that time period. Naturalism, like realism, work to accurately portray its subject matter, but naturalism works to find the scientific theory. ...

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... events and the world around us. John Updike’s story, “Separating,” written in 1975, is the story of a family about to be torn apart due to divorce. It is influenced by current events by showing how much the world has changed and come to accept divorce. Divorce’s were not accepted and were not easily obtained until the 1970’s. Another piece of literature from this era, Tennessee William’s playwright, “A Streetcar Named Desire” written in 1947 represents life in New Orleans at that time period. Williams gives readers ???

History, current events and social events really influence American Literature. Authors have been influenced by the world around them and that has reflected in their works. This can be seen throughout the many eras studied in this class. It can also be seen in all genres of literature such as playwrights, fiction, non fiction and poems.

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