Romanicism In 19th Century Lit Essay

722 words - 3 pages

#1)     If one were to look up realism in the thesaurus, romanticism will be found as the antonym. However in the works of Harriet Prescott Spofford and Kate Chopin these two elements go hand in hand. Focusing on Spofford’s short story, “Circumstance,” and Chopin’s short story, “The Storm,” these two selections maintain a smooth transition between realism and romanticism.
     In Harriet Prescott Spofford’s “Circumstance” she tells of a woman who is visiting a sick neighbor. Where they live neighbors are miles apart, with the woods between being home for many wild animals, as well as Indian tribes. The woman stays with the neighbor too long and does not realize night is approaching, and she hurries home. Spofford begins the story in a very realistic tone. On her way home she is attacked by a sort of mountain lion. Spofford gives a romantic description of the beast, never giving the exact name of the animal. “Suddenly, a swift shadow, like the fabulous flying-dragon, writhed through the air before her, and she felt herself instantly seized and borne aloft. It was that wild beast- the most savage and serpentine and subtle and fearless of out latitudes- known by hunters as the Indian Devil.” (86) In her definition she keeps the beast from being real. Describing the animal as a beast, a flying dragon, and a devil gives the reader a mysterious impression of the animal, rather than being realistic and calling this flying dragon a lion. Throughout the story the woman is in the Indian Devil’s grasps, in and out of consciousness, awaiting her rescue. Knowing when she can no longer soothe the beast she will be killed, she struggles to sing her soothing songs. Romanticism takes over at the end of the story. Her husband begins to get nervous. He takes their child and his gun out to find her. Her husband finds her high in the tree branches in the clenches of the beast. He shoots the beast and saves the day, in Romanticism good always prevails. As they venture home, “There is no home there. The log-house, the barns, the neighboring farms, the fences, are all blotted out and mingled in one smoking ruin.” (94) Indians came and destroyed...

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