Literature and Social Reality

Topics: Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Ambrose Bierce, 19th century Pages: 2 (810 words) Published: April 10, 2013
Literature and Social Reality

Literature and Social Reality
During many of the most wonderful works of literature is a plethora of events taken place outside the door of the writer’s world. As literature was taking shape and painting a picture with the words on paper the changing world was affecting people in numerous ways. There were immigrants coming to America in hopes of gaining a better life and a better job. There were new factories being built which needed workers. In came the industrial revolution. As America started to flourish there was an abundance of natural resources and a free enterprise system was being implemented. Something many people waited on was one of the most important things to be put in place. A public education system was built and governed. Now everyone could go to school and get an education to become a better citizen for the community. How would these new advances change our literary focuses?

With these changes came new literary movements. One major literary movement which made its appearance was Realism (1865-1915). Realism is when someone writes in order to represent real life as accurately and honestly as possible while doing so objectively. Realism focuses on everyday life experiences. The Realists were followed by the Naturalists. The Naturalists followed the effects in which heredity and the environment in which he or she lived had on people who were considered helpless to change his or her situations. Naturalism (late 19th century to early 20th century) takes on the dark and more scientific parts of realism taking its cues from theories like Darwinism. Naturalism, when used by writers takes on the belief in which humans are animal like, no real control and a detached pessimistic view. A couple of examples of the Naturalists movements in literature would be Ambrose Bierce’s Devil’s Dictionary which began as a weekly insert in one of his newspaper entries in 1881. Bierce’s definitions were...

References: Baym, N. (Ed.). (2008). The Norton Anthology of American Literature (Shorter 7th ed., Vol. 2)
New York, NY: W. W. Norton.
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