R Ealism Essay

1709 words - 7 pages

y 2014
Realism Essay
American Realism came about as a rejection of romanticism, focusing on the scientific study and the influence of rational philosophy. Realism became prominent around the time of the Civil War and ended toward the beginning of the 19th century. Hugh Holman and William Harmon both describe Realism in their novel A Handbook to Literature as, "Where the romanticists transcend the immediate to find the actual or superficial to find the scientific laws that control its actions, realists center their attention to a remarkable degree on the immediate, the here and now, the specific action, and the verifiable consequence" (428). Charles W. Chesnutt, Frederick Douglass, and ...view middle of the document...

His narrative, “The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass”, truly emphasizes his standing on Christianity through the eyes of a slave. Charlotte Gilman was an activist for equality. At a young age, Gilman experienced severe depression and had to go through a series of unusual treatments for it. It inspired her most well known short story "The Yellow Wallpaper" which tells the effects of isolation on the hardships of the inhabitant living in a Maine fishing village. Abby Werlock, a writer for Bloom’s Literature, says that “The Yellow Wallpaper” is best known for, “Depicting the nervous breakdown of a young wife and mother, the story is a potent example of psychological realism”. Each of these stories are prime examples of how each character overcame a moral dilemma while representing each of his or her local colors. Many realist authors are a symbol for the common masses, paving a way for those who look up to them. As authors, they focus on the now emphasizing the growth of their character as he or she deals with class and societal dynamics, religious conflicts, and suffering.
In the "The Conjure Woman", Chesnutt has several other stories including "Po' Sandy" where Uncle Julius enlightens a white couple on the story of Sandy, the slave who is still haunting the plantation house. Sandy, wanting an escape from his life as a slave, has his wife, Tenie, turn him into a tree, because trees are strong and rooted to their location: something he never was. Also, just like a tree, he is bound to behave the way the outside influences want him to which represents the way he is constantly suffering. Everytime Tenie suggested an animal, Sandy made an excuse as to why he didn't want to be that animal, "Tenie offers to turn Sandy into a rabbit, which he declines because dogs might chase him. She suggests a wolf, but he doesn't want anyone to be scared of him. She suggests mockingbird, but he doesn't want a hawk to catch him" (Chesnutt 2). Sandy didn’t want to be turned into an animal because he felt that as a slave, the minimal rights he had were more than that of an animal. Also, he may not have chosen an animal because he belonged to Tenie and if he was changed, he would have to leave the plantation. He didn't want to leave the plantation, even if it meant he could have a better life, without her. Throughout the story, the idea of humanity is put down as the ideals of marriage and respect of the human body and the human mind are undermined. Sandy's wife was separated from him within the first few lines of the story confining him to his own misery (Chesnutt 1). The basic human rights are undermined throughout the novel as Sandy's slaveowner limits earnings and food, constricting his proper growth. The short story "Po' Sandy" by Charles Chesnutt represents the struggle an African American slave goes through when dealing with social standings through rights and religion.
​ In “The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass”, Frederick Douglass...

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