Essay on Naturalism and Realism

Essay on Naturalism and Realism

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Beginning in the late 19th century, two separate movements spread across America know as realism and naturalism. While the two were very similar in their beliefs and ideals there were still many apparent distinctions to differentiate the two. Realism and naturalism showed themselves in many aspects of life, from art and sciences to new math techniques and even religion. However, above all else these movements may have been most evident in the literature of this time. Reading through American literature of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, it becomes perceptible which short stories portray realism and which represent nationalism.
Mark Twain’s humorous tale, “The Notorious Jumping Frog of Calaveras Country,” clearly shows Twain’s admiring feelings towards the movement of realism. While naturalism tends to show a more depressing scene, realism is not necessarily as disheartening. At the end of the story, the narrator, feeling slightly agitated, walks away from his friend who is still in the process of telling a story, showing Twain’s use of humor in his short story. A basic view of life is shown in this short story with characters from a middle class who have difficulties that are not very extreme. For example, the problems the protagonist faces are not life or death but simply a matter of money that he bet. “The Notorious Jumping Frog of Calaveras Country” not only signifies what it was like to live in the 1800s but also acts as a faithful representation of reality. This story is both believable and understandable. Perhaps it is the author’s use of vernacular that makes the story even more plausible. Words such as “kep’,” “git,” “ketched,” and “feller” are used rather than their proper English worlds while characters are s...


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...ins in London’s story and the main character freezes to death, showing yet another way that naturalism takes its depressing form. Words used to describe this despair include “drooping,” “monotonous,” “panic,” and “danger.” At one point the leading character tries to kill his only companion, a dog, for its warmth showing the pathetic man’s desperation.
By reviewing the authors during the naturalism and realism movements of literature, it soon becomes clear which writers supported which view. While every one of them were sure to have different views on certain matters, many used their fiction to show a more reasonable if upsetting life. These inspiring authors told tales that represented many things they believed and had confidence in. There were many before these men and women who shared their ideas on paper and there will doubtlessly be countless still to come.

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