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Introduction to Realism

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  • Introduction to Realism

    As we move onto taking a look at our final two literary theories that we will be focusing on, we will also be moving onto a new literary time period. The literary time period known as Realism occurred in America from about 1850-1900.   A reaction to Romanticism, Realism is writing that presents the details of actual life.  While not all of the literature from this time period is nonfiction, Realism does attempt to show characters and events in an honest way.  The Civil War had a large impact on the literature written during this time period, as did the Industrial Revolution.  To hear a brief overview of Realism (and Naturalism), watch the video below.  (Awesome mustache, no?)


    Furthermore, Naturalism and Regionalism are also sub-genres of Realism.  Naturalism states that forces larger than the individual, such as nature, fate, and heredity, shape the individual.  Naturalists believed that life is controlled by heredity, economics, and our environment.  Regionalism, however, focuses on the characters, dialect, customs, and other features particular to a specific region.  Regionalism was later known as the "local color" movement. 

    Key Terms

    Unit Overview 
    Realism makes an attempt to present the details of actual life.  Realism shows characters and events in an honest way, whether the story is true or not.  The Civil War had an impact on the types of stories written, as did the Industrial Revolution.  The literature varies from spirituals, to autobiographies, to fictional stories about the West and the individualism of women.

    Furthermore, two other literary movements, Naturalism and Regionalism were a part of the Realism time period.  Naturalism focuses on forces that are larger than the individual such as nature, fate, and heredity.  Regionalism attempts to show the dialects, customs, and characteristics of a particular region; this movement is also known as "local color."


    Works Cited
    YouTube 24 August 2012