Realism and Naturalism in American Writers’ Stories

Some writers in America love to apply realism, while others approach naturalism as they endeavor to convey different messages in society. Authors like Ambrose Bierce and William Howell use realism, while Kate Chopin and Charlotte Perkins Gilman. Realist and naturalist writers create stories that reflect societal norms, but how the stories are told differs, as is depicted below. Firstly, realist writers make use of characters and settings that are familiar, while naturalists engage unique and special characters who use peculiar and extreme locations. In An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge by Ambrose Bierce, the main character, Peyton Farquhar, is a southern planter who has been hanged for attempting to destroy the bridge at the time of war.

Also, in Editha by William Howell, the idea of Romanticism and Realism is presented through the Main character Editha and her boyfriend George, whom she convinces into a war despite his different ideology that war is bad. During times of war in America, people thought that fighting was good, just as Editha thought. On the other hand, George represented the minority Americans who would not stand for their ideologies. In The Story of an Hour by Kate Chopin, the character Mrs. Mallard is a sick character who is prone to a heart attack and lives in a confined setting in her home. Also, in The Yellow wallpaper by Gilman, Mrs. John suffers from a postpartum nervous disorder that forces the husband to place the family in a house that is isolated, and Jane describes it as haunted.

Secondly, characters in realism act towards restoring situations to the norm while the naturalistic characters are destroyed when they confront the problems. The character Peyton, in the story, An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge, imagines fleeing himself from being hanged. He imagines himself managing to escape back to his wife, although that doesn’t finally happen. On the other hand, in Kate Chopin’s Desiree’s baby, Desiree’s husband rejects her with allegations that she is not white, only later to realize that his mother was not white. His attempt to become a racist destroys his young family.

Thirdly, in realism stories, good dominates, while the realistic characters are destroyed by fate to discourage the vices in society. In An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge, Peyton imagines freedom even at his point of death. Just as he imagines returning home to his wife, the plank is released, and the lad is hanged. Desiree’s happiness in her family is short-lived due to her husband’s sudden change into a racist, which eventually destroys their love. In conclusion, the naturalists and the realists differ in various ways, as shown above. However, both types of approaches have a great contribution to the literature world not only now but also in the future.

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