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Essays On Realism And Naturalism In Literature

Realism and Naturalism in American Literature Essay

1069 WordsMay 3rd, 20135 Pages

Katelynn Craig
English 3883
Dr. Charles DeShong
15 March 2013
Realism in Huckleberry Finn Between the end of the civil war in 1865 to about 1910, two styles of literature dominated American literature: realism and naturalism. Realism presents the world as it really is. One of the well known writers of realism, William Dean Howell’s, wrote “realism in nothing more and nothing less than the truthful treatment of material.” Realism in literature tends to be the plain and direct account of whatever is being written about. Writers of realism fill their work with facts to complement the readers’ feelings of the fact that these things can happen in their everyday lives. Realists are sure to write about normal, everyday people, living…show more content…

In the explanatory text before the story, Twain explains the dialect of the characters, “the Missouri negro dialect; the extremest form of the form of the backwood South-Western dialect; the ordinary “Pike-County” dialect; and four modified varieties of this last.” The dialect is accurate to each role the character plays, making the text as real and relatable as possible. The use of diction that fits each character, time period, and location is another way in which The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn becomes a novel to fit the idea of realism.
The use of satire throughout the novel allows Twain to expose and identify the true character of each individual. While characters like the two conmen and religious figures walk around and present themselves as highly educated and righteous, they really are lacking in their lives. The two conmen are exactly that, conmen. Their education is lacking and Huck catches on and identifies that, “"It didn't take me long to make up my mind that these liars warn't no kings nor dukes at all, but just low-down humbugs and frauds." Those that claim to be religious only act this way in public. They all attend church, like the Grangerfords and the Shepherdsons, but never use the lessons taught in church and apply them to their home lives. Twain shows Tom’s lack of logic when Tom is creating a plan to save Jim. There are parts of the plan that are so unrealistic and out of this world that they have to

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The Influence Of Realism And Naturalism On 20th Century Literature

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. This paper will try

to prove this by presenting the basic ideas and of these literary

genres, literary examples of each, and then make connections between

the two literary movements. Realism Modernism not only depicted

American society after World War I accurately and unbiasedly, but also

tried to find the solutions brought upon by the suffering created by

the war (Elliott 705).

The realistic movement of the late 19th century saw authors

accurately depict life and it's problems. Realists attempted to "give

a comprehensive picture of modern life" (Elliott 502) by presenting

the entire picture. They did not try to give one view of life but

instead attempted to show the different classes, manners, and

stratification of life in America. Realists created this picture of

America by combining a wide variety of "details derived from

observation and documentation..." to "approach the norm of

experience..." (3). Along with this technique, realists compared the

"objective or absolute existence" in America to that of the "universal

truths, or observed facts of life" (Harvey 12). In other words,

realists objectively looked at American society and pointed out the

aspects that it had in common with the general truths of existence.

This realistic movement evolved as a result of many changes

and transitions in American culture. In the late 1800's, the United

States was experiencing "swift growth and change" as a result of a

changing economy, society, and culture because of an influx in the

number of immigrants into America. Realists such as Henry James and

William Dean Howells, two of the most prolific writers of the

Nineteenth-century, used typical realistic methods to create an

accurate depiction of changing American life. William Dean Howells,

while opposing idealization, made his "comic criticisms of society"

(Bradley 114) by comparing American culture with those of other

countries. In his "comic" writings, Howells criticized American

morality and ethics but still managed to accurately portray life as...

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