Realism in Jim Grimsley's Winter Birds

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Realism in Jim Grimsley’s Winter Birds
When thinking of a work of fiction, one would most likely consider the unrealistic story or the happy ending. Additionally, most wouldn’t think of “the harsh realities of everyday life” (Feldman, 485) like domestic violence and alcoholism. This is because nowadays, most books aren’t realist novels. A realist novel is a fictional book that focuses more on character analysis rather than plot, and describes things as they really are, with no excess details. One can argue that Winter Birds by Jim Grimsley is a realist novel because of its portrayal of faith, unresolved plot, and absence of emotion.

Throughout Winter Birds, the portrayal of faith that takes place in the novel really shows how realistic the events of the book are. The first part of the book where this occurs is when the narrator Danny Crell must go to the hospital. Danny, a hemophiliac, has a declining in condition because of uncontrollable blood loss. He starts to dream of death: “Or else you dreamed of clouds. You dreamed you were no longer a child, you were something other, something you assigned no name but only imagined” (Grimsley, 61). This proves to be quite realistic because as the unreliable narrator, eight-year-old Danny can easily imagine things he’s never seen before. It also shows Danny’s ability to put his mind in another place when in a problematic position, a technique used in many real situations. It also displays the anomaly of how children can sometimes be more sensible or even more mature than adults. This is a very realistic idea that sparks much interest in relating the novel’s discourse back to the previous thought, raising the question of the possibility of a small boy speaking like an adult. Another example of Winter Bird’s realist portrayal of faith occurs when Danny mentions the River Man. This provides insight into Danny’s everyday rituals and his hope that change can...
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