The Age of Realism

The Literature of the Late Nineteenth Century

The Age of Realism: Marked by the End of the Civil War: 1861-1865 1861‡ Cost of the Civil War
‡ The Human Cost
‡ 1,094,543 Casualties ‡ The North lost one out of ten
‡ 110,100 in battle ‡ 224,580 to disease

‡ The South lost one out of four
‡ 94,000 in battle ‡ 64,000 to disease

‡ Two percent of US population died in the Civil War, with only WWII claiming more lives;

‡ Economic Cost
‡ Estimated at 6.6 billion, which would be 165 billion today



‡ Steam power replaced water power ‡ Machines replaced hand labor ‡ The Industrial Revolution had begun .By the end of the Civil War ‡ The Emancipation Proclamation and 13th Amendment had abolished slavery ‡ The industrial North had defeated the agrarian South ‡ Social order grew based on mass labor and mass consumption.

skilled workers replaced by semi-skilled laborers. devaluing the personal relationship between management and workers or company and customers. . semi‡ Large corporations were established.The Effects of The Industrial Revolution ‡ Migration from rural to urban areas ‡ Independent.

. ‡ National conscription laws. ‡ Federal income taxes levied.Political Upheaval ‡ Political power shifted to the laboring classes. ‡ Paper money backed by federal government rather than individual states issued. ‡ The power of the federal government expanded during the Civil War. ‡ Political patronage and graft caused civic corruption.

Mass Communication and Migration ‡ Coast-to-coast communication Coast-to‡ Pony Express (1860)³10 days (1860)³ Telegraph (1861)³just seconds to (1861)³ communicate across country Transatlantic telegraph cable (1866) allowed instant communicate with Europe Telephone patented (1867) By 1900. coast-to-coast travel³4 coast-totravel³ days .3 million telephones in U. 1. Coast-toCoast-to-coast travel Transcontinental Railroad (1869) By 1889.S.

Intellectual Revolution: Changes in Thinking brought about by Changes in Society ‡ Changes in science ‡ Changes in psychology ‡ Changes in philosophy .

From these social changes come two literary movements ‡ Realism. ‡ first begun as the local color movement ‡ Naturalism .

µ ‡ Grounded in the belief that there is an objective reality which can be portrayed with truth and accuracy as the goal. a literary doctrine calling for ´reality and truth in the depiction of ordinary life. ‡ The writer does not select facts in accord with preconceived ideals.Realism ‡ Begins in France. . as realisme. but rather sets down observations impartially and objectively.

insisting that the ordinary and local were just as suitable for art as the sublime. ³ William Dean Howells . ³Nothing more and nothing less than the truthful treatment of material.A Reaction against Romanticism ‡ These authors sought to portray life as they saw it.

topography. ‡ Definition of Local Color: ‡ Literature that focuses on the characters. and habits of that specific region .Realism began in America as Local Color ‡ A synthesis of romantic plots and realistic descriptions of things. dress. mannerisms. customs. . dialect. and other features particular to a specific region that exploits the speech.

stereotypical. ‡ Characters³more concerned with the Characters³ character of the region than an individual³ individual³ quaint. ‡ Narrator-.Characteristics of Local Color ‡ Setting³often remote and usually integral Setting³ to the educated observer from the Narrator-world beyond who·s often deceived ‡ Emphasis on dialect ‡ Use of stock characters ‡ Plot³nothing much happens. revolves Plot³ around the community and its rituals .

nostalgia for an alwaysalways-past Golden Age. conflicts taledescribed humorously. ‡ Tall tale-tradition. ‡ Triumphant trickster or trickster tricked.Themes in Local Color ‡ Dislike of change. larger than life .

matter³ ‡ Purpose³Verisimilitude. the truthful Purpose³ representation of life.Characteristics of Realism ‡ Subject matter³ordinary people and events. psychological realism Characters³ ‡ Plot de-emphasized de‡ Focus on everyday life ‡ Complex ethical choices often the subject ‡ Events are made to seem the inevitable result of characters· choices . ‡ Point of View³omniscient and objective View³ ‡ Characters³middle class.

‡ Slice-of-life technique Slice-of‡ often ends without traditional formal closure. leaving much untold to suggest man·s limited ability to make sense of his life.Themes in Realism ‡ Humans control their destinies ‡ characters act on their environment rather than simply reacting to it. .

psychological and social and economic forces.Naturalism: A Harsher Realism Definition: A literature that depicts social problems and views humans as victims of larger biological. ‡ Scientific determinism ‡ Psychological determinism ‡ Historical determinism .

His fate is determined by outside forces that can be discovered through scientific inquiry. ‡ Humans respond to environmental forces and internal stresses and drives. none of which can be fully controlled or understood ‡ People are driven by fundamental urges like fear.Scientific. sex ‡ The world is a ´competitive jungle. Biological or Darwinian Determinism ‡ Man has no direct control over who or what he is. hunger.µ .

.Psychological Determinism ‡ Man is a victim of his inner and subconscious self (Freud).

Historical Determinism ‡ Historical or sociosocioeconomic determinism (Marx): the world is a battleground of economic and social forces. .

Objectives of Naturalism ‡ Presentation is objective and detached ‡ Subject matter³raw and unpleasant matter³ experiences which reduce people to degrading circumstances in order to survive. ‡ Setting commonplace and un-heroic un‡ Novelist discovers qualities in lower class characters usually associated with heroes ‡ Suggestion that life on lowest levels is more complicated .

Themes in Naturalism ‡ Man is fundamentally an animal. without free will. ‡ Governed by determinism ‡ External and internal forces. ‡ Struggle for life becomes heroic and affirms human dignity ‡ Pessimistic view of human capabilities³life capabilities³ is a trap . environment or heredity control behavior. ‡ Characters have compensating humanistic values which affirm life.

people of lower economic means . white and privileged ‡ Whose reality is marginalized and ignored? ‡ Those without power: women.The Ultimate Problem in Realism ‡ Whose reality is portrayed? ‡ Those in power. people of color. usually male.

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