The Effect Of Cultural And Historical Situations On American Literature

1125 words - 5 pages

Professor Brattoli ”American literature is almost always tied to historical and social events of the era in which it was written.”

There is a connection between literary works from different time periods. This connection is how history, current events and social events have impacted American Literature. Literary works and writing styles have been affected and influence by the world around us. This is seen in many of the works assigned for this class.

In order to see how cultural and historical situations affect literature throughout history, it is important to get a brief history on each era discussed in this paper. The first era we will be reviewing will be writings from 1865-1914. The Civil War was just ending in 1865. America lost over a half of million Americans in the war. The nation was in a state of disorder and the south was devastated. Nevertheless, the country prospered. America became industrialized and saw innovations such as the railroads, telegraph, telephone, and electricity. Population increased due to immigration.
Between the years of 1865 and 1914, American literature was mainly comprised of three writing styles; realism, regionalism, and naturalism. Realism aims to portray life realistically. Though realism’s subject matter concentrated on the middle class, it showed the concerns and commonplace events of its time period. Regionalism and local color is a specific type of realism. It worked to record a distinctive way of life. Regionalism often showed regional dialect, food, clothing styles and customs of that time period. Naturalism, like realism, work to accurately portray its subject matter, but naturalism works to find the scientific theory. Each of these writing styles have characteristics that make them stand out from each other but they all seem to also have a common link of showing life realistically.
It is easy to see that current events and issues of the world around them have had an impact on authors and what they have written from the stories in this time period. The Native American authors wrote stories describing life during and after white man came to America. The African American authors wrote stories describing life during and after slavery. All of these are issues that these authors lived through and experienced through the world around them. Even the fiction in this time period showed connections with events going on in the world. Maria Amparo Ruiz De Burton’s story “The Squatter and the Don,” written in the1880’s, is the story of a Spanish landowner who loses power over his land after the Mexican war and the Land Act. The Land Act was a federal law that prevented land to be bought on credit. The Land Act caused a lot of controversy in the 1800’s.

America went through great changes between the years 1914 and 1945. World War 1 and World War 2 were both fought during this time period. Another event occurring in this time period...

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