Literary Realism and Naturalism

talk to you briefly about two concepts called realism and naturalism these are two literary movements that grew out of the Romantic Age and as we move from the age of romanticism into the realm of realism there are some differences taking place in the way people write our realistic writers wanted to portray things in a realistic manner and that's really what we mean by realism in the Romantic period you'll see that our writers aren't necessarily trying to portray things in an extremely realistic manner they leave more things to the imagination there can be supernatural events in some of the romantic writers there can be often happy endings not with someone like Poe but the more popular romantic writers and you'll find that their realist then as they studied the romantic writers thought that they needed to take off on a different Avenue they thought that life does not always work out with happy endings and they were not always supernatural events in stories and so on and they wanted to portray life as it really was and so when you read someone like a Mark Twain or Henry James or any number of other realistic writers you'll find this in common that these are very realistically portrayed stories that try to be true to life and try to present life as it actually did happen naturalism may be viewed as a sort of extension of realism with a naturalistic writer he still wants to portray things in a realistic manner as the realist writer does but we takes it a little bit further it takes a little different approach in that he feels like the character is going to be controlled by his environment controlled by outside forces and these outside forces are going to finally overcome and overpower the character and you'll find this in the writing of people like a crane and London and you will help to short stories to read by them by the way where you see this literary movement working but there's a sort of formula that is sometimes associated with literary naturalism and it goes like this fate FTE equals the characters environment plus chance plus heredity so we talk about what happens to the character in external terms what the characters environment is like where the characters heredity is like and what happens by a chance pure accident and these things add up to the characters fate what finally happens the characters destiny and you'll notice that the character is own will or personality or personal strength those things are not included in the formula because those things are not in these writers view at least these things are not enough to overcome these external factors and so the chief character in a naturalistic story is almost always overcome submerged by these external factors and that's why so many of them have rather unhappy endings notice this as you read through crane in London and you'll see how it works

19 thoughts on “Literary Realism and Naturalism

  1. Wow. I never expected that bikerdude with the handlebar stasche to be the Literary MASTER!

  2. in that W and P showed sort of an exception that Tolstoy had a lot to say about God and divine grace and salvation … At least up to what I read so far (1087/1322 pgs)

  3. But I think another key characteristic of the stories that I have read that was classified as naturalism was focus on human nature and effort to depict it as true and bare as possible. The characters might be so naked to us and their fate so cruel, but you feel no mailce of the writer – the author feels like an observer who is omniscient but super pessimistic and resigned to the wickedness and weakness of people and how the fate essentially has no concern at all for our welfare :p

  4. Nice. I am reading the last bit of War and Peace by Tostoy, thought somehow this fell into the naturalism category, and then realized that I only knew examples of the genre (Madame Bovary) but not the exact definition. I see now the Fate = EHC is an important aspect of these.. Tosltoy goes one step further by becoming almost deterministic..

  5. "Realistic writers want to portray things in a realistic manner and that is really what we mean by realism". Very intelligible.

  6. Try to benefit from what he says about Naturalism and Realism and not to make jokes!!

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