Life is presented as deterministic or even mechanistic since heredity and environment control human actions rather than free will. For example, in Bret Harte's "The Luck of Roaring Camp," despite the men's efforts to improve themselves, their camp and the baby they have reformed for are washed away in a flood. Naturalism often depicts man in conflict with nature, society, or himself. The main characters in Naturalism are usually of the lower socioeconomic classes and often don't have a strong moral compass.
The moral failings of individuals or society as a whole, however, are considered dispassionately. The tone is often detached, emotionless, and scientific. When it comes to diction , ugly and unpleasant words may be chosen rather than lyrical or elegant ones.
In descriptive passages, an excessive amount of detail may appear, but the arrangement will be informal, even chaotic, in order to show that society and nature are governed by random forces. Artificial or optimistic plot structures are avoided and the action seems more of a "slice of life" than an arc in which can result in characters who change, grow, and develop.
One of the main characteristics of Literary Naturalism is the belief that man behaves in accordance with the laws of nature. Instinct and inherited traits, then, would drive his actions more than would free will. A second belief related to this first one is the idea that man is at the mercy of his environment. Realism does not necessarily have this same deterministic and pessimistic outlook. Naturalism was not just a literary movement; it also had branches in philosophy, sociology, and the visual arts.
Naturalist works of literature often focus on the vices of humanity and human misery in an unflinching way; a main critique of Naturalist writers was that they were too blunt.
Though naturalist writers used humans as their characters, they treated these characters as creatures to be analyzed just like any other animal. Indeed, they thought that humans acted in predictable ways stemming from some innate and unchangeable part of themselves. A key aspect of naturalism is determinism; i. There are certainly many examples of characters lacking free will prior to the rise of naturalism, especially in the Greek dramas where gods held all the power, but naturalism found the cause of this determinism to be nature itself.
Some contemporary writers might still use elements of naturalism in their works of literature. However, as a movement, it has generally fallen out of favor in current writing. The following three excerpts from naturalist novels illustrate the three primary principles of the movement: The whole street bore the flavours of riches and show, and Carrie felt that she was not of it.
She could not, for the life of her, assume the attitude and smartness of Mrs. Vance, who, in her beauty, was all assurance. She could only imagine that it must be evident to many that she was the less handsomely dressed of the two. It cut her to the quick, and she resolved that she would not come here again until she looked better.
At the same time she longed to feel the delight of parading here as an equal. Ah, then she would be happy! The novel shows how the protagonist Carrie begins to get wealthy, but finds that no amount of wealth or fame can make her anything other than the country girl she always was.
Like many of his fellow American novelists, Crane began his career as a journalist, and he continued to travel and report on international stories for the remainder of his career. His total contributions to the body of literature were relatively small, as he died before his thirtieth birthday. This was not fully realized until many years after his death. Modernists like Ernest Hemingway worked hard to rehabilitate the critical reputation of Crane, and today that reputation is resoundingly positive.
His descriptions and scenery were inspired by war and history magazines, which he found dry and too matter-of-fact. He saw an opportunity to craft the first novel that explored warfare from the point of view of the psyche. Characters speak in realistic dialects. The story is not rooted in a specific locale.
The soldiers cannot see the big picture of the war, and neither can the reader. The glory of warfare is replaced by ignorance, pain, and fear. Crane offers no sentimentality or mythology. He reports the events in fine detail, but makes no authorial commentary. The Red Badge of Courage is frequently required reading for high school English classes, yet the irony of the text is often lost.
Crane abhorred the mythmaking that surrounded armed combat, and his greatest novel is an attempt to show that humans were not designed to commit such atrocities on each other. Though she is frequently lumped together with the Realists, Edith Wharton often produced novels that just as rightly belong in the category of Naturalism. Though she herself descended from enormous wealth, Wharton was able to step outside her own experience and take an objective view of privilege and class.
Her agenda was to show the unforgiving nature of life at the top of the class structure. Her characters often fall from grace through their own mistakes, miscalculation, and sometimes for no apparent reason at all. Interestingly, Wharton also had a successful career as a designer of homes and landscapes.
This attention to environmental details certainly found expression with her literary productions. More so than most Naturalist writers, Wharton displayed a real sympathy for her characters. In that sense, her particular brand of Naturalism was less cold and clinical than many of her contemporaries.
Still, one cannot escape the sense that Wharton subscribed to the notion of determinism — a world devoid of free will. In Ethan Frome , Wharton departs from her typical subject matter and attempts a thoroughly provincial narrative. The setting is rural Massachusetts, and the characters are poverty-stricken and hopeless. There is the faintest hint of romance, but all hopes of a happy resolution are dashed, quite literally.
The poverty of the characters is presented as a roadblock to even the slimmest chance of fulfillment. The lead characters are not even permitted to end their suffering through suicide — their fateful sledding accident only adding to the tragedy of their existence. There is no epic sweep to the tragedy either. The sense of irrevocable fate is overpowering, as is the unforgiving, elemental nature of the harsh Massachusetts winter.
In Frank Norris, American literature found its most potent expression of Naturalism. His novels are Darwinian struggles played out in fiction, and he was sometimes criticized for making literature that was too scientific and lacking in sympathy.
Naturalism began as a branch of literary realism, and realism had favored fact, logic, and impersonality over the imaginative, symbolic, and supernatural. Frank Norris, an American journalist and novelist, whose work was predominantly in the naturalist genre, “placed realism, romanticism, and naturalism in a dialectic, in which realism and .
Definition, Usage and a list of Naturalism Examples in literature. Naturalism is a literary genre that started as a literary movement in late nineteenth century in literature, film, theater and art. It is a type of extreme realism.
A naturalistic novel is thus an extension of realism only in the sense that both modes often deal with the local and contemporary. The naturalist, however, discovers in this material the extraordinary and excessive in human nature. The second tension involves the theme of the naturalistic novel. Naturalism The logical outgrowth of literary Realism was the point of view known as Naturalism. This literary movement, like its predecessor, found expression almost exclusively within the novel.
However, as a movement, it has generally fallen out of favor in current writing. Examples of Naturalism in Literature. The following three excerpts from naturalist novels illustrate the three primary principles of the movement: a inescapable inheritance of what kind of person any of us can strive to be, the lack of distinction between man and. Naturalism is a form of writing that is based on realism. One of the main distinctions is that naturalism is the way of writing that doesn't focus on individuality. Often more political in character, naturalist writing almost always tells a tale where the individual is at the mercy of a larger force.