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Russian Formalism Essay

3708 words - 15 pages

PAGE PAGE 10
The Industrial Social Novel: Fiction from FactLaura ThompsonTesoro High SchoolLas Flores, CA"Literary works cannot be taken over like factories, or literary forms of expression like industrial methods. Realist writing, of which history offers many widely varying examples, is likewise conditioned by the questions of how, when and for what class it is made use of." Bertolt Brecht (1898-1956), "The Popular and the Realistic"During the nineteenth century poets, essayists, journalists and novelists attempted to depict the multitude of facets of the ever-changing political, social and economic conditions found in England during the Industrial Revolution. Early industrial novels not only described the conditions of the working classes' living and working situations but also offered solutions to the spiraling problems of urbanization and industrialization in some parts of the country. In his novel Sybil, Benjamin Disraeli created his theory of "Two Nations":Two nations; between whom there is no intercourse and no symphony; who are as ignorant of each other's habits, thoughts, and feelings, as if they were dwellers in different zones, or inhabitants of different planets; who are formed by different breeding, are fed by a different food, are ordered by different manners, and are not governed by the same laws. ""You speak of-" said Egremont, hesitatingly. "THE RICH AND THE POOR."Charles Dickens in his novel, Hard Times, and Elizabeth Gaskell in her novel, North and South, developed their own reconciliation with the "Two Nations", the theory about the growing tensions between the rich and the poor. Dickens and Gaskell also described other tensions, those between men and women and those between the public and private spheres of society and family. Using various writing techniques, both novelists wrote their fictional treatises to inform and educate social realities within a fictional narrative, and subsequently sometimes both authors' authencity of voice and purpose can in the words of Dickens' character, Stephen Blackpool, the martyred weaver, ' be in a muddle'. Such may be the inevitability of the industrial novel's inability to create both plausible plots and realistic social solutions (David 4). It can leave the reader somewhat perplexed and dissatisfied with the resolution of both the narrative and the social experiment, but still the discussion of the social problems in both Hard Times and North and South were novel experiments whether or not they were completely successful. After reading just a few chapters from Hard Times, one cannot escape the heavy-handed use of metaphors to explain the plight of the worker as compared to the conditions the children faced on a daily basis in the Gradgrind school of education. Dickens' proposed paternalistic social solution for the working class reverberated throughout the novel. Many early and contemporary critics of the novel complained of Dickens' overuse of the metaphor to explain his tale, whether...

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