English 11A C
19 December 2010
Realism in Modern Short Stories
Realism is a type of literary style in which an author will try to convey a message through ordinary life and people, the real life situations they may encounter, and the likely outcome to their struggles. These outcomes are usually harsh, but are more realistic than traditional stories. Raw and brutal emotion can usually be found in these stories because of the lack of idealization the author uses to create a memorable experience for the reader. Several modern authors of short stories have been known to utilize these characteristics. One modern short story that particularly comes to mind in the context of realism is “Flight”, by John Steinbeck. The story’s main protagonist is Pepe, a young boy who lives with his mother and siblings in a rather poor farm environment. Upon a series of events, he ends up murdering a man who makes a slur of some sort toward him, and Pepe must flee his home and family if he has any hope of survival. The short story “Flight”, by John Steinbeck shares some characteristics of realism such as the protagonist being thrown into a situation he is unprepared for, struggling to survive while being hunted, and finally facing an inhumane, yet inevitable death.
Pepe is an ordinary, lazy boy that is forced to leave home alone while quickly maturing and gaining responsibility because of his actions. When we are first introduced to Pepe, he is constatly scolded by his mother for playing with his knife and not helping around the house. “Some lazy cow must have got into thy father’s family, else how could I have a son like thee” ( ). Realism deals with the plight of ordinary people and certainly a lazy teenage boy is nothing out of the ordinary. After Pepe arrives home after the accident, his mother notices that his face has changed and she no longer sees a fragile boy, but a strong man. She and he both know that he must ride alone for the first...