In this paper I will attempt to uncover if Naturalism has more characteristics similar to Romanticism or Realism. In order to set the tone, I include historical background to determine why Naturalism became a popular genre in the mid 18th century. Of course, a brief study on the differences between realism and romanticism will also be necessary for accurate comparison and will definitely be included in this research project. Furthermore, I will explore the roots of naturalism, in relation to Realism and Naturalism, in antebellum America. The Naturalist works that will be discussed to support my claim are Stephen Crane’s “The Open Boat” and Jack London’s “To Build a Fire.”
Conditions of Antebellum America
After the Civil War, America was a country in transition. The South was reeling from a decimated economic market, a destroyed landscape, and unsteady race relations. There was deep seeded anger and resentment towards the Northern victors of the war that left many southerners feeling that their lifestyle was not understood or accepted by Northerners. The promise of Reconstruction appeared mythological to those awaiting aid. What little amount of reconstructive governing that did occur was not effective and did not consider the complexity of the Southern people’s needs after the war. What seemed to be the downfall of Reconstruction was that it focused on the problem of the whites and the problem of the African Americans without seeing the problem as an entire Southern issue.
Southern identity was ultimately questioned after the war. The newly freed slaves especially had a hard time of assimilating into American Southern culture. Freed slaves were living a life in opposition. The happiness of freedom was seriously jeopardized as the small amount of protection a master provided was replaced with outright violence and discrimination. Many slaves by this time were born in America and had a hard time... [continues]
Cite This Essay
(2008, 10). American Naturalism: Romantic or Realistic?. StudyMode.com. Retrieved 10, 2008, from http://www.studymode.com/essays/American-Naturalism-Romantic-Realistic-175043.html
"American Naturalism: Romantic or Realistic?" StudyMode.com. 10 2008. 10 2008 <http://www.studymode.com/essays/American-Naturalism-Romantic-Realistic-175043.html>.
"American Naturalism: Romantic or Realistic?." StudyMode.com. 10, 2008. Accessed 10, 2008. http://www.studymode.com/essays/American-Naturalism-Romantic-Realistic-175043.html.