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Characteristics of Realism

The literature of the time reflected the diversity of the country during the time, both the promise and problems of the frontier and the dynamic expansion of theindustry.

The Civil war and it’s aftermath left Americans less certain about their future than before. Writers turned away from the Romanticism that had been popular before the war started. They rejectedthe idealist hopes and extravagances of this movement and seek instead to portray ordinary life. They tried to show the characters and events in an objective and factual way.
Realist were inspired bythe experiences of the war, of the frontier and of the cities at the time.
They seek for meaning in the common place.
Their techniques were based on the careful observation of the scenes theyportrayed and the exposure of the hidden meaning behind familiar words or actions.
They dealt with social characters like factory workers, bosses politicians and gunfighters describing them as they wereand often causing controversy.
The writers took their characters out of the masses and had them speak through dialects, capturing the flavor and rhythms of common speech.
They often wrote aboutlower and middle class people, describing the poverty and hardships faced by this section of the society. The realists confronted many harsh realities of the American society.
The narratives where oftenbased on nonfiction events which were modified and exaggerated

• Influenced by the French Novelist Emile Zola. According to this author a writer must observe people and societyobjectively as if he were a scientist about to draw conclutions from his experiments and observations.
• Naturalistic writers believed people had no control over events because one’s destiny wasdetermined by heredity, the environment in which one is borned, physical drives and economic circumstances.
• They tended to be pessimists.
• “Man is at the mercy of the brutal forces of...
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