Realism, Naturalism, and Regionalism

Characteristics of realism
depicted characters and events in an honest, objective, almost factual way

Characteristics of naturalism
Suggests that forces far more powerful than any individual shaped human destinies

What was the goal of regionalist writing?
To bring light to the emotions/values of people in crowded cities ??

What transformed American landscape, economy, and society?
Physical expansion and industrialization

What two things helped settle the west?
The Homestead Act of 1862 (farmers and slaves) and the Trans-Continental railroad

What were issues faced by the working class before the civil war?
Low wages, child labor, and disease

What did mark twain call the “electric society” and why?
“The Gilded Age” bc of the contradictions within this era (the height of the wealthy and the depth of the lower class

What were spirituals and what did they communicate?
Lyrical expressions of lamentation, comfort, hope, and the social/political issues of slavery; helped slaves imagine a better life

Examples of autobiographical writings of the period
Sojourner’s Truth, Frederick Douglass’s autobiography, Mary Chestnut’s diaries (confederate wife)

The surprise at ends of O. Henry’s short stories
How much people felt their lives were subject to coincidence and chance

How did the civil war change American optimism
The cost of human life had ruined their innocence

What did southern writers focus on?
The distinctive qualities of their geographical setting

“Local color” writing featured
Characters and details that were unique to a particular geographic area

Local color writers (4)
Bret Harte, Hamlin garland, Willa cather, mark twain

Examples of writers who used urban settings
Edith Warton, William dean Howells, Henry james

Examples of settings to be found in American literature at this time
Civil war battlefield, Mississippi, riverboat, western mining town, a Yukon wilderness

What two types of speech were typical of American writing?
Common and “unliterary”

Humor often served the purpose of …
Exposing corruption and dissecting human foibles

What did local color writers depict and how?
They recorded life as it was lived, provides details of places they love

Two realist writers and two naturalist writers
Realist: Irving and Poe
Naturalist: Steven Crane and Jack London

Naturalists believed that human behavior was controlled by …
Hereditary, environment, and social conditions

Pragmatism
A practical way of solving a problem

Emerson’s self reliance succeeded by
Jack London’s “to build a fire”

Exceptional heroes were being replaced by
Ordinary people

Attitude towards science at 1893 world fair
Curiosity

Time period
1850-1914

Muckrackers
Focused on revealing corruption, scandals, and incompetence in American industries