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AMERICAN
REALISM
English 11 Unit 3
American Realism
Objective
■ In this lesson, you will evaluate the emergence of
the realist period and its literature.
American Realism
Literary Realism
■ Realism originated as a nineteenth-century artistic movement
that rebelled against the romantics.
■ While the romantics felt that art should show the ideal, realist
artists and writers focused on truth, rather than beauty.
■ They depicted the everyday world as it existed around them.
American Realism
■ The American realism movement began around the end of the Civil War in
1865 and lasted to the beginning of the twentieth century.
■ Authors such as Robert Frost, Mark Twain, Charles W. Chesnutt, and
Henry James focused their writing on real-life situations with true-to-life
characters.
■ They wrote as though they were documenting true events and included
realistic speech patterns, gritty characters, and even unhappy endings.
■ Realist literature focused on the everyday lives of ordinary citizens.
American Realism
Characteristics of American Realism
■ Objective
■ Free Will
■ Sometimes Optimistic
■ Everyday Settings
■ Ordinary Events
■ Common Man Characters
■ There is frequent use of colloquial speech. Diction is natural
vernacular, not heightened or poetic; tone may be comic,
satiric, or matter-of-fact.
■ Characters are of the middle and low classes.
American Realism
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
■ Another text that illustrates the way realism rebels against romanticism is
Mark Twain's novel The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.
■ The main character, Huck, is a faithful depiction of many young, poor boys
at the time: he was an uneducated child who spat and questioned the
existence of God.
■ The book has romantic characters as well, including Tom Sawyer, who
serves as a foil to Huck and views life as a series of grand adventures.
■ Twain uses the two boys to provide a contrast between romantic idealism
and realist practicality.
American Realism
Assignments:
1) Complete the “Literary Era” exercise on slide 9 of the
American Realism Tutorial to help you
distinguish between the characteristics of
Romanticism and the characteristics of Realism in
literature.
2) Read “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge.”
American Realism
Analysis of “The Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge”
■ In this story, Bierce primarily uses the third-person limited point of view.
– In sections 1 and 3, the reader gains access to all of Peyton Farquhar's internal
thoughts.
– In section 2, the point of view shifts to show the thoughts and intentions of the
soldier who comes to Farquhar's farm. Here, the reader finds out that the soldier is
actually a federal scout who has set up Farquhar for capture. This insight is the only
information the reader has that Farquhar does not.
■ The harsh ending to the story—Farquhar's sudden death by hanging—is an example of
realism, which commonly depicts the brutal realities of life and death.
Complex Characters in Realism
Objective
■ In this lesson, you will analyze how authors use
complex characters and other literary elements for
effect in realist literature.
Complex Characters in Realism
Complex Characters
■ Complex characters in literature add depth to a text.
■ The personalities of complex characters are often multifaceted
and are not easily defined in straightforward or simplistic
terms.
■ Authors often use complex characters to portray the variations
in human nature.
■ Complex characters often have internal conflicts that cause
them to question their own ideas, beliefs, attitudes, and morals
■ Complex characters may also be described as round
characters.
Complex Characters in Realism
■ Assignment:
■ Read “The Story of an Hour” by Kate Chopin.
■ Write a lengthy paragraph describing Mrs. Mallard.
– Do not summarize the story. Your paragraph is a
character description.
Complex Characters in Realism
■ Complex characters in realist literature, like real people, react
to events in unpredictable ways.
■ Their behavior reveals multiple motives and conflicting traits,
and it evolves with time.
■ Realist characters are more believable because of these
qualities.
■ Mrs. Mallard -
Unreliable Narrators in Realism
Objective
■ In this lesson, you will evaluate how authors use
unreliable narrators and other literary techniques for
effect in realist literature.
Unreliable Narrators in Realism
Relying on a Narrator
■ When reading a story, audiences expect to be able to trust the
narrator and the events that the narrator describes. .
■ Sometimes, though, narrators have an unreliable or
untrustworthy perspective on the events in a story.
■ This limitation creates an unreliable narrator, or a narrator
whose story cannot be believed.
■ In that case, readers must judge for themselves which parts of
the narrative are true and which should be called into doubt.
■ The two main reasons that readers might doubt a narrator's
credibility are a lack of sophistication and a lack of sanity.
Unreliable Narrators in Realism
Types of Unreliable Narrators
■ In a story with an unsophisticated narrator, the first-person
account often comes from a child's point of view.
■ An example of an unsophisticated narrator comes from the
novel To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. Told from the point
of view of a young girl, Scout, living in a small town in the
1930s, the story focuses on racial tensions in the community.
■ The narrator does not understand why race is such a
contentious, or controversial, issue.
Unreliable Narrators in Realism
■ Types of Unreliable Narrators
■ Narrators who display a lack of sanity are also considered
unreliable because readers cannot be sure which events
actually take place and which occur only in the narrator's
imagination.
■ Recall the excerpt from Poe's "The Black Cat.” Is the mark on
the cat's chest actually growing, or is the change happening
only in the narrator’s mind?
■ Readers, recognizing that the narrator has shown signs of
insanity, must decide for themselves if the action is truly taking
place.
Unreliable Narrators in Realism
Effects of an Unreliable Narrator
■ Authors often use unreliable narrators to reveal truths about
human nature and society.
■ For instance, in To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee's portrayal of
racism through the eyes of the young girl, Scout, serves to
show that the moral corruption of racism is evident even to a
child.
Humor in American Realism
Objective
■ In this lesson, you will identify and analyze
characteristics of satire and humor in realist
literature.
Humor in American Realism
Satire
■ Works of satire are written in a humorous way to point out
a flaw in society or a particular person.
■ American humor blossomed during the realist period, as
evidenced by writers such as Mark Twain and Charles
Farrar Browne.
■ Many characteristics of their writing, including using
ordinary characters and writing in the vernacular, or
common language, were also characteristics of realist
writing as a whole.
■ Twain wrote stories and novels satirizing racial relations,
various British customs, and class differences in the 1800s.
Humor in American Realism
Hyperbole
■ One technique many humorists employ is hyperbole, a
rhetorical device that exaggerates facts and details. Writers
use hyperbole to emphasize a point or to add humor based on
the absurdity or irrationality of the idea being exaggerated.
■ Consider the previous example from Browne's “Interview with
President Lincoln.” Where does it contain hyperbole?
■ I should move heving and arth—so to speak—until I got
orfice [office] . . .
■ "Move heving and arth," or moving heaven and earth, is a
hyperbole meaning that the speaker will try anything to
accomplish his task.
Humor in American Realism
■ Which sentences in this excerpt from Mark Twain's Adventures of Huckleberry Finn use
hyperbole?
■ He listened some more; then he come tiptoeing down and stood right between us; we
could a touched him, nearly.
■ Well, likely it was minutes and minutes that there warn't a sound, and we all there so
close together.
■ There was a place on my ankle that got to itching, but I dasn't scratch it; and then my ear
begun to itch; and next my back, right between my shoulders.
■ Seemed like I'd die if I couldn't scratch.
■ Well, I've noticed that thing plenty times since. If you are with the quality, or at a funeral,
or trying to go to sleep when you ain't sleepy—if you are anywheres where it won't do for
you to scratch, why you will itch all over in upwards of a thousand places.
■ Pretty soon Jim says: "Say, who is you? Whar is you? Dog my cats ef I didn' hear
sumf'n. Well, I know what I's gwyne to do: I's gwyne to set down here and listen tell I
hears it agin."
Humor in American Realism
■ Which sentences in this excerpt from Mark Twain's Adventures of Huckleberry Finn use
hyperbole?
■ He listened some more; then he come tiptoeing down and stood right between us; we
could a touched him, nearly.
■ Well, likely it was minutes and minutes that there warn't a sound, and we all there so
close together.
■ There was a place on my ankle that got to itching, but I dasn't scratch it; and then my ear
begun to itch; and next my back, right between my shoulders.
■ Seemed like I'd die if I couldn't scratch.
■ Well, I've noticed that thing plenty times since. If you are with the quality, or at a
funeral, or trying to go to sleep when you ain't sleepy—if you are anywheres
where it won't do for you to scratch, why you will itch all over in upwards of a
thousand places.
■ Pretty soon Jim says: "Say, who is you? Whar is you? Dog my cats ef I didn' hear
sumf'n. Well, I know what I's gwyne to do: I's gwyne to set down here and listen tell I
hears it agin."
Humor in American Realism
Assignment
■ Read Mark Twain’s “The £1,000,000 Bank-Note.”
■ Complete slides 17 and 18 on Unit 3 Humor in American
Realism and submit answers.
Humor in American Realism
■ Analysis of "The £1,000,000 Bank-Note“
■ “The first thing I noticed, then, was the landlord. His eye was on the note, and he was
petrified.He was worshiping, with all his body and soul, but he looked as if he couldn't stir
hand or foot. ”
■ Henry uses this discovery to his advantage and lives like a king for the month he has the
money.Twain is making a statement about the worship of money throughout all classes of
British society.Everyone—from the landlord of the hotel to the aristocrats that Henry dines
with—is in awe of his million-pound bank note and, as a result, treats him as an honored
member of society.
■ Twain uses hyperbole throughout the story. For example, instead of simply writing that Henry
wanted to eat a pear that a child dropped in the gutter, Twain writes that his "whole being
begged for it."
■ He gently satirizes the emotions of youth through Henry's character. Although Henry has
only just met Portia Langham at a dinner party, he falls in love immediately. To the reader, he
introduces her as "an English girl of twenty-two, named Portia Langham, whom I fell in love
with in two minutes." Everything that Henry feels is a hyperbole—his hunger, his love, his
excitement—which reflects the inexperience and immaturity of many young adults.

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4 English_11_American_Realism new.pptx

  • 2. American Realism Objective ■ In this lesson, you will evaluate the emergence of the realist period and its literature.
  • 3. American Realism Literary Realism ■ Realism originated as a nineteenth-century artistic movement that rebelled against the romantics. ■ While the romantics felt that art should show the ideal, realist artists and writers focused on truth, rather than beauty. ■ They depicted the everyday world as it existed around them.
  • 4. American Realism ■ The American realism movement began around the end of the Civil War in 1865 and lasted to the beginning of the twentieth century. ■ Authors such as Robert Frost, Mark Twain, Charles W. Chesnutt, and Henry James focused their writing on real-life situations with true-to-life characters. ■ They wrote as though they were documenting true events and included realistic speech patterns, gritty characters, and even unhappy endings. ■ Realist literature focused on the everyday lives of ordinary citizens.
  • 5. American Realism Characteristics of American Realism ■ Objective ■ Free Will ■ Sometimes Optimistic ■ Everyday Settings ■ Ordinary Events ■ Common Man Characters ■ There is frequent use of colloquial speech. Diction is natural vernacular, not heightened or poetic; tone may be comic, satiric, or matter-of-fact. ■ Characters are of the middle and low classes.
  • 6. American Realism The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn ■ Another text that illustrates the way realism rebels against romanticism is Mark Twain's novel The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. ■ The main character, Huck, is a faithful depiction of many young, poor boys at the time: he was an uneducated child who spat and questioned the existence of God. ■ The book has romantic characters as well, including Tom Sawyer, who serves as a foil to Huck and views life as a series of grand adventures. ■ Twain uses the two boys to provide a contrast between romantic idealism and realist practicality.
  • 7. American Realism Assignments: 1) Complete the “Literary Era” exercise on slide 9 of the American Realism Tutorial to help you distinguish between the characteristics of Romanticism and the characteristics of Realism in literature. 2) Read “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge.”
  • 8. American Realism Analysis of “The Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge” ■ In this story, Bierce primarily uses the third-person limited point of view. – In sections 1 and 3, the reader gains access to all of Peyton Farquhar's internal thoughts. – In section 2, the point of view shifts to show the thoughts and intentions of the soldier who comes to Farquhar's farm. Here, the reader finds out that the soldier is actually a federal scout who has set up Farquhar for capture. This insight is the only information the reader has that Farquhar does not. ■ The harsh ending to the story—Farquhar's sudden death by hanging—is an example of realism, which commonly depicts the brutal realities of life and death.
  • 9. Complex Characters in Realism Objective ■ In this lesson, you will analyze how authors use complex characters and other literary elements for effect in realist literature.
  • 10. Complex Characters in Realism Complex Characters ■ Complex characters in literature add depth to a text. ■ The personalities of complex characters are often multifaceted and are not easily defined in straightforward or simplistic terms. ■ Authors often use complex characters to portray the variations in human nature. ■ Complex characters often have internal conflicts that cause them to question their own ideas, beliefs, attitudes, and morals ■ Complex characters may also be described as round characters.
  • 11. Complex Characters in Realism ■ Assignment: ■ Read “The Story of an Hour” by Kate Chopin. ■ Write a lengthy paragraph describing Mrs. Mallard. – Do not summarize the story. Your paragraph is a character description.
  • 12. Complex Characters in Realism ■ Complex characters in realist literature, like real people, react to events in unpredictable ways. ■ Their behavior reveals multiple motives and conflicting traits, and it evolves with time. ■ Realist characters are more believable because of these qualities. ■ Mrs. Mallard -
  • 13. Unreliable Narrators in Realism Objective ■ In this lesson, you will evaluate how authors use unreliable narrators and other literary techniques for effect in realist literature.
  • 14. Unreliable Narrators in Realism Relying on a Narrator ■ When reading a story, audiences expect to be able to trust the narrator and the events that the narrator describes. . ■ Sometimes, though, narrators have an unreliable or untrustworthy perspective on the events in a story. ■ This limitation creates an unreliable narrator, or a narrator whose story cannot be believed. ■ In that case, readers must judge for themselves which parts of the narrative are true and which should be called into doubt. ■ The two main reasons that readers might doubt a narrator's credibility are a lack of sophistication and a lack of sanity.
  • 15. Unreliable Narrators in Realism Types of Unreliable Narrators ■ In a story with an unsophisticated narrator, the first-person account often comes from a child's point of view. ■ An example of an unsophisticated narrator comes from the novel To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. Told from the point of view of a young girl, Scout, living in a small town in the 1930s, the story focuses on racial tensions in the community. ■ The narrator does not understand why race is such a contentious, or controversial, issue.
  • 16. Unreliable Narrators in Realism ■ Types of Unreliable Narrators ■ Narrators who display a lack of sanity are also considered unreliable because readers cannot be sure which events actually take place and which occur only in the narrator's imagination. ■ Recall the excerpt from Poe's "The Black Cat.” Is the mark on the cat's chest actually growing, or is the change happening only in the narrator’s mind? ■ Readers, recognizing that the narrator has shown signs of insanity, must decide for themselves if the action is truly taking place.
  • 17. Unreliable Narrators in Realism Effects of an Unreliable Narrator ■ Authors often use unreliable narrators to reveal truths about human nature and society. ■ For instance, in To Kill a Mockingbird, Harper Lee's portrayal of racism through the eyes of the young girl, Scout, serves to show that the moral corruption of racism is evident even to a child.
  • 18. Humor in American Realism Objective ■ In this lesson, you will identify and analyze characteristics of satire and humor in realist literature.
  • 19. Humor in American Realism Satire ■ Works of satire are written in a humorous way to point out a flaw in society or a particular person. ■ American humor blossomed during the realist period, as evidenced by writers such as Mark Twain and Charles Farrar Browne. ■ Many characteristics of their writing, including using ordinary characters and writing in the vernacular, or common language, were also characteristics of realist writing as a whole. ■ Twain wrote stories and novels satirizing racial relations, various British customs, and class differences in the 1800s.
  • 20. Humor in American Realism Hyperbole ■ One technique many humorists employ is hyperbole, a rhetorical device that exaggerates facts and details. Writers use hyperbole to emphasize a point or to add humor based on the absurdity or irrationality of the idea being exaggerated. ■ Consider the previous example from Browne's “Interview with President Lincoln.” Where does it contain hyperbole? ■ I should move heving and arth—so to speak—until I got orfice [office] . . . ■ "Move heving and arth," or moving heaven and earth, is a hyperbole meaning that the speaker will try anything to accomplish his task.
  • 21. Humor in American Realism ■ Which sentences in this excerpt from Mark Twain's Adventures of Huckleberry Finn use hyperbole? ■ He listened some more; then he come tiptoeing down and stood right between us; we could a touched him, nearly. ■ Well, likely it was minutes and minutes that there warn't a sound, and we all there so close together. ■ There was a place on my ankle that got to itching, but I dasn't scratch it; and then my ear begun to itch; and next my back, right between my shoulders. ■ Seemed like I'd die if I couldn't scratch. ■ Well, I've noticed that thing plenty times since. If you are with the quality, or at a funeral, or trying to go to sleep when you ain't sleepy—if you are anywheres where it won't do for you to scratch, why you will itch all over in upwards of a thousand places. ■ Pretty soon Jim says: "Say, who is you? Whar is you? Dog my cats ef I didn' hear sumf'n. Well, I know what I's gwyne to do: I's gwyne to set down here and listen tell I hears it agin."
  • 22. Humor in American Realism ■ Which sentences in this excerpt from Mark Twain's Adventures of Huckleberry Finn use hyperbole? ■ He listened some more; then he come tiptoeing down and stood right between us; we could a touched him, nearly. ■ Well, likely it was minutes and minutes that there warn't a sound, and we all there so close together. ■ There was a place on my ankle that got to itching, but I dasn't scratch it; and then my ear begun to itch; and next my back, right between my shoulders. ■ Seemed like I'd die if I couldn't scratch. ■ Well, I've noticed that thing plenty times since. If you are with the quality, or at a funeral, or trying to go to sleep when you ain't sleepy—if you are anywheres where it won't do for you to scratch, why you will itch all over in upwards of a thousand places. ■ Pretty soon Jim says: "Say, who is you? Whar is you? Dog my cats ef I didn' hear sumf'n. Well, I know what I's gwyne to do: I's gwyne to set down here and listen tell I hears it agin."
  • 23. Humor in American Realism Assignment ■ Read Mark Twain’s “The £1,000,000 Bank-Note.” ■ Complete slides 17 and 18 on Unit 3 Humor in American Realism and submit answers.
  • 24. Humor in American Realism ■ Analysis of "The £1,000,000 Bank-Note“ ■ “The first thing I noticed, then, was the landlord. His eye was on the note, and he was petrified.He was worshiping, with all his body and soul, but he looked as if he couldn't stir hand or foot. ” ■ Henry uses this discovery to his advantage and lives like a king for the month he has the money.Twain is making a statement about the worship of money throughout all classes of British society.Everyone—from the landlord of the hotel to the aristocrats that Henry dines with—is in awe of his million-pound bank note and, as a result, treats him as an honored member of society. ■ Twain uses hyperbole throughout the story. For example, instead of simply writing that Henry wanted to eat a pear that a child dropped in the gutter, Twain writes that his "whole being begged for it." ■ He gently satirizes the emotions of youth through Henry's character. Although Henry has only just met Portia Langham at a dinner party, he falls in love immediately. To the reader, he introduces her as "an English girl of twenty-two, named Portia Langham, whom I fell in love with in two minutes." Everything that Henry feels is a hyperbole—his hunger, his love, his excitement—which reflects the inexperience and immaturity of many young adults.