Naturalism 1900

Naturalism is an outgrowth of realism.
Naturalistic writers were influenced by
the evolution theory of Charles Darwin’s
Origin of the Species and his ideas about
evolution and the survival of the fittest.
Naturalist believed that the characters
heredity and social environment decided
their outcomes.
Naturalism stories like those in Realism
are character-driven rather than plotdriven.
Naturalist writers view life as a battle with nature, as
seen through everyday experiences of typical people.
Naturalism writers pointed out the faults of the
growing modern society by looking at humanity as
though seen through a scientific view of an uncaring
Frank Norris’s novel The Octopus, shows how the
power of railroads controlled and destroyed the lives
of individuals ranchers depending on the
transportation of their livestock to the eastern
Naturalism: literary
characterized by a
belief that people
have little control
over their own lives.
Naturalist writers
focus on the
powerful economic,
social, and
forces that shape the
lives of individuals.
Realism as a view of
things as they really
are. Naturalism gest
a step further and
rejects any idea of
fate or destiny.
Naturalism is a more
extreme version of realism
and teaches that man is no
different than any other
thing or animal.
Themes and Style
 Naturalistic works exposed the dark harshness
of life, including poverty, racism, sexism,
prejudices, diseases, prostitution, and filth,
both human and literal.
 Naturalistic authors were often criticized for
being too blunt. Seeing the too negatively.
 Naturalistic writers used a version of the
scientific method, they studied human beings
ran by their instincts and passions as well as
the ways in which the characters' lives were
ruled by forces of heredity and environment
 Naturalistic writers extended a
frankness about sexual functions
much further than the early Realists
had dared; and it is this, combined
with a pervasive pessimism about
humanity, which chiefly characterizes
the Naturalist novel.
When it occurs to a man that nature
does not regard him as important, and
that she feels she would not maim the
universe by disposing of him, he at first
wishes to throw bricks at the temple,
and he hates deeply the fact that there
are no bricks and no temples.
--Stephen Crane, "The Open Boat"
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 (1894, 1899)
Known Naturalistic
American Authors
Stephen Crane, Jack London, Theodore
Dreiser, Frank Norris, Edith Wharton,
James T. Farrell
Many of the American naturalists, especially Norris and
London, were heavily influenced by Emile Zola. They sought
explanations for human behavior in natural science, and
were skeptical, at least, of organized religion and beliefs in
human freewill.
Representative Works
 The Call Of The Wild - Jack London
“The next he knew, he was dimly aware that his tongue
was hurting and that he was being jolted along in some
kind of a conveyance. The hoarse shriek of a locomotive
whistling a crossing told him where he was. He had
travelled too often with the Judge not to know the
sensation of riding in a baggage car. He opened his eyes,
and into them came the unbridled anger of a kidnapped
king. The man sprang for his throat, but Buck was too
quick for him. His jaws closed on the hand, nor did they
relax till his senses were choked out of him once more.
"Yep, has fits," the man said, hiding his mangled hand
from the baggageman, who had been attracted by the
sounds of struggle. "I'm takin' 'm up for the boss to 'Frisco.
A crack dog-doctor there thinks that he can cure 'm.”."
The Call Of The Wild
The protagonist in this book is a dog
named Buck, whose primitive instincts
return after a series of events finds him
serving as a sled dog in the frigid Yukon
during the days of the 19th century
Klondike Gold Rushes. This book is a
representation of the naturalism period
because it shows how Bucks heredity as
a true sled dog overrule his will power to
be different