The Rise of Realism PowerPoint Presentation

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THE RISE OF REALISM:
1850-1900
“The only reason for the existence of a novel is that it does attempt to
represent life.”
-Henry James
Prisoners from the Front, Winslow Homer, 1922.
PEOPLE, PLACES, & THINGS:
1850 - 1900
What are some of the important events?
Who are some authors of this period?
What are some of the important works of this time?
REALISM: A “VERY MINUTE
FIDELITY”
Realism – dominated fiction in America from the
late 19th century until the middle of the 20th.
 The Realists:

were writers who sought to portray real life without
filtering it through personal feelings, romanticism, or
idealism;
 wanted to be as accurate as possible when depicting
people, places, and things. [Think of Realism as the
photography of writing.]

A REACTION TO ROMANTICISM
Realism is a reaction
to idealized “romantic”
novels of the previous
period.
 Romanticism Recall:


Fallen Monarchs, William Bliss Backer, 1886.
Edgar Allan Poe,
Nathaniel Hawthorne,
Ralph Waldo
Emerson, and Henry
David Thoreau.
CHARACTERISTICS
Realistic writing is
characterized by:
honest, believable characters;
realistic dialogue;
events in the story that seem
possible in real life;
characters that are driven by
real motives and emotions;
characters that don’t change
without sufficient reason;
objectivity.
Young Soldier, Winslow Homer, 1861.
REALISM VS. ROMANTICISM
Realism
Romanticism
Characters are ordinary
people
Characters are “larger
than life”
The language is common
vernacular (ordinary
speech and dialect)
The language is of a more
elevated style
Settings exist or are based
on actual places
Settings are often fictional
or exotic and mysterious
(or both)
Plot is developed with
ordinary events and
circumstances
Plot is developed by
unusual events, mystery,
or high adventure
Attempts to be objective
Highly subjective
THE CIVIL WAR

Casualties, 1861-1865
Federal: 664,928
 Confederate: 483,026





Battles destroyed farms
and homes.
Cities were bombarded
and burned.
 Sherman’s March to the
Sea
Suddenly, life wasn’t so
nice.
The romantic heroes of the
past weren’t cutting it
anymore.
Four dead soldiers in the woods near Little Round Top,
Alexander Gardner, 1863.
THE CIVIL WAR, CONT.
Journalistic accounts
of the Civil War
developed a taste for
realistic writing.
 Increased use of
photography also
helped shaped
America’s taste for
realistic depictions.

Body of a Confederate Soldier Near Mrs. Alsop's House, 1864.
NATURALISM

Naturalism holds the
same view as Realism
with the addition of:
Man has LITTLE
control over his fate;
 Life is NEVER perfect;
problems exist in
society;
Hiding in the Haycocks, William Bliss Baker, 1881.
 Life is ALMOST
NEVER fair;
 Nature does not care about the  Good ALMOST
NEVER wins over
plight of man.
Evil;

NATURALISM, CONT.
A man said to the universe:
“Sir, I exist!”
“However,” replied the universe,
“The fact has not created in me
A sense of obligation.”
- Stephen Crane
How does this poem espouse the tenants of
Naturalism?
REGIONALISM

Regionalism has ALL
the characteristics of
Realism PLUS:
using regional dialects;
 descriptions of a local
area or region;
 local cultures and
customs.


Writers attempt to
make the reader feel
they’ve been to an area
without actually going
there.
Champions of the Mississippi, Currier & Ives.
STEPHEN CRANE
Associated with the
Naturalist movement
 b. 1871 (remember this date)
 Youngest of fourteen
children; often ill as a
child
 First work “published”
in 1893

Maggie: A Girl of the
Streets
 Financial failure

Stephen Crane.
STEPHEN CRANE, CONT.

The Red Badge of Courage
(1895)
A novel about the Civil War
told through the point of view
of a young private.
 The highlight of his literary
career.
 Remember his birth date…?


Wrote numerous stories and
poems and worked as a
newspaper correspondent
(Nothing as popular as Red
Badge, however.)
Stephen Crane in Athens, 1897.
STEPHEN CRANE, CONT.
While enroute to Cuba in 1896, Crane met Cora
Taylor (a “hostess”).
 The pair journeyed to Greece in 1897 to cover the
Greco-Turkish War.
 Unfortunately, Crane spent the rest of his life
plagued by both finical and health struggles.
 Diagnosed with tuberculosis, he died in a
sanitarium in Germany in 1900.
 He was only twenty-eight years old.

AMBROSE BIERCE



b. 1842
Father: Marcus Aurelius
Bierce
 an “eccentric and
unsuccessful farmer”
Fought on the side of the
Union during the Civil War



Part of Sherman’s March to the
Sea
Severely wounded and cited for
bravery fifteen times
Left the army, moved to San
Francisco, began to write for
newspapers
Ambrose Bierce, 1892.
AMBROSE BIERCE, CONT.
Worked for several
newspapers in San
Francisco
 Married in 1871,
separated in 1888


(Bierce discovered
“compromising letters”
from an admirer of his
wife.)
The Devil’s Dictionary,
1906.
 d. 1914

Ambrose Bierce, J.H.E. Parington.

((we think))
AMBROSE BIERCE, CONT.
Bierce left America in 1913 to report on (or
perhaps join) the Mexican Revolution.
 In one of his last letters, Bierce wrote the
following to his niece, Lora:
“Good-bye — if you hear of my being stood
up against a Mexican stone wall and shot to
rags please know that I think that a pretty
good way to depart this life. It beats old age,
disease, or falling down the cellar stairs.”
 And that was the last anyone heard from him...

THE DEVIL’S DICTIONARY
Bore, n. A person who talks when you wish him
to listen.
 Cannon, n. An instrument employed in the
rectification of national boundaries.
 Circus, n. A place where horses, ponies and
elephants are permitted to see men, women and
children acting the fool.
 Clarionet, n. An instrument of torture operated
by a person with cotton in his ears. There are two
instruments that are worse than a clarionet —
two clarionets.

THE DEVIL’S DICTIONARY, CONT.
Corporation, n. An ingenious device for
obtaining individual profit without individual
responsibility.
 Idiot, n. A member of a large and powerful tribe
whose influence in human affairs has always
been dominant and controlling.
 Love, n. A temporary insanity curable by
marriage.
 Novel, n. A short story padded.
 Telephone, n. An invention of the devil which
[has] the advantages of making a disagreeable
person keep his distance.

THE DEVIL’S DICTIONARY, CONT.
Vote, n. The instrument and symbol of a
freeman's power to make a fool of himself and a
wreck of his country.
 Yankee, n. In Europe, an American. In the
Northern States of our Union, a New Englander.
In the Southern States the word is unknown.
 Zeal, n. A certain nervous disorder afflicting the
young and inexperienced.

JACK LONDON

b. 1876


“As a boy, he was largely
uncared for by his parents”
(495).
In his teens, he:





was an oyster pirate;
sailed on a schooner;
went seal-hunting;
wrote for several
newspapers;
prospected for gold in the
Klondike.
Portrait of Jack London, Arnold Genthe.
JACK LONDON, CONT.
London left the Klondike
after only a year due to
illness.
 His time in the Klondike,
however, convinced him that
“life is a struggle in which
the strong survive and the
weak do not” (495), a
perspective which highly
influenced his work.
 His story “To Build a Fire”
is based on his experiences
in the Klondike.

Jack London.
JACK LONDON, CONT.

The Call of the Wild (1903) is his most famous
work.

The Call of the Wild is the story of a sled dog named
Buck who escapes to freedom.
In his later years, London’s health deteriorated
due to alcoholism.
 d. 1916

London overdosed on narcotics in November of 1916
and lapsed into a coma.
 He died the following evening at the age of forty.

WORKS CONSULTED
Arpin, Gary Q. “The Rise of Realism: The Civil
War and Postwar Period.” Elements of
Literature. Austin: Holt, Rinehart &
Winston, 2000. 408-422.
 Vanderziel, Jeffery. "Civil War Statistics." The
American Civil War. 2001. 17 Feb 2009
<http://www.phil.muni.cz/~vndrzl/amstudies/
civilwar_stats.htm>.

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