Romanticism vs. Realism

Topics: Romanticism, Hedda Gabler, Frederick Douglass Pages: 2 (834 words) Published: November 15, 2006
The main ideas of the period of Romanticism were largely based on self expression, free will and the ability to act on that will, spontaneity, individualism and the prospect to shape your own life. The thoughts of the realists pertained to more concrete aspects of the here and now and emphasize that the things that matter are unavoidable truths. In the Narrative of the Life of Fredrick Douglass, his ideas of human potential and self exploration towards becoming part of the proclaimed freedoms and opportunities of America precisely sum up the ideas of the Romantic period. These ideas not only closely relate to the slaves of the time that were going through the same injustices of Douglas, but many lower class divisions of society in all of the world. The works of the realist authors focus more on common people, especially ones with flaws and imperfections. There is more of concern with social problems and the idea of being materialistic in the works of realists. In Ibsen's Hedda Gabler, Hedda was extremely wealthy and forced to wed below her class making her very bored and her happy with her situation. In this society there was nothing that she could do about this situation. Women, much like slaves were treated unfairly in society, so like Douglas, Hedda was part of some thing that she wanted out of. The difference between her and Douglas is that she couldn't really do anything about her situation. In The Death of Ivan Ilyich, Tolstoy focuses on the pity of Ivan. He shows that Ivan is materialistic, trying to live above his means by buying things that he really can't afford. He also shows that Ivan is sad. He cries about his loneliness and cries about the absence of God in his life. The story shows that Ivan has removed himself from emotion. The author shows the complexities of Ivan's life, just the same as Ibson did with Hedda. The aspects of complexity, imperfections and common people in general are all major parts in the ideas of the realist authors...
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