Improvement Through Movement

1630 Words7 Pages
American Literature As time passed American Literature was changed and molded to find the abstract definition of truth. American Literature tried to be more truthful to how the world really was. Movement upon movement changed the style and content of stories, and each movement drew away from the past while still kept some resonance of writers before it. The three movements I will be talking about throughout the essay are Realism, Modernism, and Postmodernism. Realism can be considered as a rebellion against Romanticism. Realist believed that Romantics used too much embellishment in their stories rather than showing the Realist definition of the truth. The story “Editha”, by W.D. Howells is a great example for the contrast of Realism and Romanticism. The story begins with a Romantic point of view and near the end the ideas of Realism challenges the ideals of Romanticism. In the story the main character Editha idealizes the war and tries her best to convince her boyfriend George to fight as an honorable solider. While in process of trying to convince George to go to war Editha writes him a letter stating that “if we cannot be one in everything we had better be one in nothing”[W.D. Howells, 1469]. Editha is absolute in all her decisions and this represents the black and white prospect of Romanticism. The Realist fought against the idea of black and white or simple categories for good and bad. The Realist saw the gray area or the questionable zone. The gray area represented decisions and emotions that were between good and bad. Realist also went against the ideals of Romantics regarding war. The Romantics saw war as honorable and patriotic. The Realist revealed the bloody and gruesome side of war that the Romantics choose to ignor... ... middle of paper ... ...han giving the reader too much information. Realism was a rebellion against Romanticism. Realists believed that Romantics created a fictional world of perfection. The Realist writers chose show the world that they saw and represent all the flaws within that world. As time passed literature changed and molded itself for the search for truth. Each movement thought they were an improvement on the movement before them, and with the constant molding of literature the reader is presented with a diverse amount of writings that can each in their own way show the truth behind life and human nature. Work Cited Baym, Nina, et al., eds. The Norton Anthology of American Literature. N.p.: n.p., n.d. Print. Hemingway, Ernest. A Clean, Well-lighted Place. N.p.: n.p., n.d. 289-291. Rpt. in Ernest Hemingway Reading for 5/18. N.p.: n.p., n.d. N. pag. Print.
Open Document