Realism in literature is a writing style that describes life without idealization or romantic subjectivity. It can be seen both in the works of Laura Esquivel and Leo Tolstoy. However, their styles differ in a variety of different ways. Realism is truthfulness to individual experiences. It is a movement that started in the 19th century with authors such as Balzac and Flaubert. Realism is a style that often describes lives of lower class or poor people. However, not all writers followed this exact style. For example, Tolstoy wrote some of his works about ordinary people, but War and Peace was written mostly about the elite. In realism character is more important than the actual plot. (The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia) Kenneth Warren once said that the difference between realism and sentimentalism is that in realism, "the redemption of the individual lay within the social world," but in sentimentalism, "the redemption of the social world lay with the individual". (Campbell) There is also a subgenre of realism, called psychological realism, which focuses more on character motivation and behavior. (The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia)
The main difference between Tolstoy and Esquivel’s writing is in the particular style of realism they use. In Like Water for Chocolate Esquivel uses magical realism. It is a genre in which magical events happen in ordinary situations and considered to be realistic or normal. There are many events in this book, which are about supernatural things that cannot happen in real life. The best example is the way Tita expresses her feeling. The fact that the whole book is based on simple human feelings of an ordinary person makes it realism, but the way they are expressed makes it magical realism. For example when Tita is cooking the wedding dinner, she is expressing her grief though normal human emotions, tears. However, because the tears got into a wedding cake, it made everyone who had it feel the same sorrow that she felt. This...
Bibliography: Campbell , Donna. "Realism in American Literature, 1860-1890." 2008. Washington State University. 23 Nov 2008 .
Kaufman, Andrew. "Finding Inspiration in Tolstoy 's War and Peace." Oprah 's Book Club. 23 Nov 2008 .
"Realism." The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia. 2007. Columbia University Press. 23 Nov 2008 .
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