American Realism

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A brief description of American Realism

A brief description of American Realism

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  • 1. Realism in American Literature 1865-1915
  • 2. Historical context of American Realism
  • 3. Civil War (1861-1865)
  • 4. Civil War Statistics: 615,000 Americans killed 410,000 wounded 10 percent of all Northern males died in the war 30 percent of all Southern males died in the war
  • 5. Every American likely knew someone who had fought or died in the war.
  • 6. They could no longer fully appreciate this:
  • 7. Because they witnessed this:
  • 8. And they also saw the assassination of Abraham Lincoln
  • 9. The nation also began to grow and shift.
  • 10. American frontiers
  • 11. Virginia City, Nevada Denver, Colorado Salt Lake City, Utah Immigrants from Europe moved to the East Coast The Frontier Urban centers began to pop up around the country
  • 12. The frontier dwellers generally showed five traits
  • 13. Mobile Practical Democratic Optimistic Inventive
  • 14. As a result of the Civil War, the assassination of Lincoln and the expansion of the American West, the ideals of the transcendentalists (Emerson and Thoreau) and the romantics (Poe, Hawthorne and Melville) were rejected for a more rugged, realistic version of reality.
  • 15. Realism A literary movement that sought to portray ordinary life as real people live it and attempted to show characters and events in an objective, almost factual way
  • 16. Naturalism Part of realism, but more intense. Showed life as the working out of natural forces beyond our control
  • 17. “To Build a Fire” by Jack London (P. 490) A man and his dog attempt to survive a snowstorm in the Alaskan wilderness.
  • 18. Regionalism Through the use of dialect and vivid landscape descriptions, these stories attempted to capture the essence of life in a particular region. (Kate Chopin’s writings of cajun Louisiana is an example)
  • 19. Mark Twain (Author, orator, journalist) The most famous writer of this era (of American history?) The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn