...ccording to Perkins, although French and Russian realists and naturalists influenced James style, “in Contrast to the European naturalists whose tutelage he acknowledged, he rebelled against the materialistic interpretation of human destiny, and struggled with the problem of undeniable evil as desperately as Hawthorne, whom, among earlier Americans he most admired” (Perkins 1055). This shows that James was greatly influenced by Europeans, but he also has his added his own unique American style. One of James’ stories, “Daisy Miller," takes place in Switzerland. Throughout this story Europeans see America as being hostile and somewhat harsh. During the decade between 1870 and 1880 , the United States was once again beginning to rebuild the nation. This rebuilding or reconstruction not only affected attitudes, but it affected art and literature throughout the world.
“Each one of us must suffer long to himself before he can learn that he is but one in a great community of wretchedness…repeating itself from the foundation of the world.” Many literary works written in a time period known as the ‘Gilded Age’, focused on emotions and fantasies that captured the attention of many. Although these works of literature are considered ‘classics’, people couldn’t relate the meanings to their own lives or the world around them. “A classic is a work of art so universal in appeal...it has survived the ‘tests of time” (Lazarus). A true literary classic can be applied to the everyday lives of both people of the past and future. William Dean Howells, an American realist, used his writing to depict the issues that many common Americans dealt with during his time period. The Rise of Silas Lapham tells the story of Mr. Lapham; a man who by ambition and motivation was able to rise to success with his paint company business; only to have this business crumbles before him practically overnight. Implementing realism through a series of ironic dramatizations, Howells was successfully able to depict the struggle of the American ‘self-made man’ reaching overall morality, thus making his novel a true classic.
Two years ago, I used to work at a photo shop in downtown Philadelphia. Except for me, the only foreigner, there were five Americans working there. Once, we talked about the American life in the beginning of the twentieth century. To support my opinion, I used an example from a short story called “The Gift of the Magi” by a famous American writer O. Henry. It was a very shocking experience for me to find out that nobody knew who O. Henry was or what he had done for the world literature.
Henry James confronted the Old World-New World huddle by writing directly about it. Although born in New York City, he spent most of his adult years in England. Many of his novels center on Americans who live in or travel to Europe. With its intricate, highly qualified sentences and dissection of emotional and psychological nuance, James's fiction can be daunting. Among his more accessible works are the novellas Daisy Miller, about an enchanting American girl in Europe, and The Turn of the Screw, an enigmatic ghost story.
The literary rebellion, known as realism, established itself in American writing as a direct response to the age of American romanticism’s sentimental and sensationalist prose. As the dominance of New England’s literary culture waned “a host of new writers appeared, among them Bret Harte, William Dean Howells, and Mark Twain, whose background and training, unlike those of the older generation they displaced, were middle-class and journalistic rather than genteel or academic” (McMichael 6). These authors moved from tales of local color fiction to realistic and truthful depictions of the complete panorama of American experience. They wrote about uniquely American subjects in a humorous and everyday language, replete with their character’s misdeeds and shortcomings. Their success in creating this plain but descriptive language, the language of the common man, signaled the end of American reverence for British and European culture and for the more formal use of language associated with those traditions. In essence, these new authors “had what [the author] Henry James called “a powerful impulse to mirror the unmitigated realities of life,” in contrast to the romanticist’s insistence “on the author’s rights to avoid representations of “squalid misery” and to present instead an idealized and “poetic” portrait of life” (McMichael 6).
"The American Novel . Literary Timeline . Movements ... - PBS." 2007. 7 May. 2014
America is a popular image in literature and films. Dozens of writers sought to expose America’s vices and evaluate the consistency of its values, morality, and ethical norms. The pursuit for material wealth and the American dream were the topics most frequently discussed in American literature during the 1920s. The effects of World War I on individual beliefs and ideals, the ongoing decay of morality, the hollowness of dreams and convictions, and the failure to materialize one’s life goals together created a complicated situation, which often resembled a journey for nothing.
American Literary Realism has been bringing the social issues that had previously been dressed up and hidden by Romanticism into the spotlight since the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. During this time of upheaval and change, realist writers were able to use their own experiences with suffering and misfortune to try and change society's perception of the problems the country was facing. The goal of realist writing was to express the way the world worked in a brutally honest way in an attempt to spark change. More specifically, two authors named Kate Chopin and Paul Laurence Dunbar both faced many trials and tribulations that they were able to incorporate into their passages in order to open the minds of their readers to new ideas and ways of living. With social issues like slavery, The Civil War, industrialization, reconstruction, and American "equality", realist writers led the realist movement by revealing the struggles and hardships of ordinary people. By implementing American regionalism, realistic points of view, and smiling/grim naturalism into their stories or poems the writers were able to enlighten the public on important topics of that time period, no matter how graphic or unpleasant.
The early 1900s in the United States saw a continued polarization of class and race. While The Industrial Revolution had created opportunity for many, and extreme wealth for a privileged few, this prosperity was heavily distributed among White America; the majority of Black Americans were still mired in poverty in the southern states. The abolition of slavery did not bring the equal rights and boundless opportunity for Black Americans that they had hoped for; instead it brought disillusionment and struggle. Similarly, the end of World War II saw a parallel of disillusionment begin to emerge among the youth of White America. These parallels grew into two very distinctly different American Literary genres. The one“Finding that their elders
The colonial period in american literature is a time where the writings that came out weren’t a lot about emotions, but about how history, and the way things were in the past. Something that seemed very important was how persuasive the people became about separating themselves from the british. People wrote not only essays, but also used speeches to help get to a larger crowd of people.