Under the Lion's Paw

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Under the Lion’s Paw

Late in the nineteenth century and early in the twentieth, Americans would see a major turn in their literature. Writers would turn away from the popular style of romanticism and focus on the struggle many Americans went through in their lives. This stray from heroic characters and their illusory life is aided by three rising movements in literature. Regionalism, Realism and Naturalism transformed America’s literature by relating to average Americans and their surroundings. Under the Lion’s Paw, by Hamlin Garland is an exceptional example of literature from this time period through its style, characterization, and the literary movements within the story.

In the story Under the Lion’s Paw by Hamlin Garland, many aspects portray it as typical of the time period, which was around 1891. One of the most pronounced qualities is the Regionalism the story was written with. Regionalism follows a basic rule of writing: write what you know. Garland approached writing in this method as well; as he believed who include the “local color” of the region best known to them personally, write better stories. In Under the Lion’s Paw, Regionalism establishes the story, as specific hardships that the characters lived through were popular to certain regions. Instead of focusing on just the drama of the characters, the story had a well-developed setting. Obviously set in a Midwestern state, Americans are able to closely relate to the hardships that were focused on this area. Garland also had a great knowledge of farm life and work, and as a result, the descriptions of the characters’ actions were entirely accurate. Dialect is also an important factor in the “local color” of an area, and the audience gets a definite understanding for the setting from the dialogue between characters.

A movement in literature that is as prominent and related to Regionalism in the 1890’s is Realism. Under the Lion’s Paw indicates its time of publishing through its use of...
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