?Similarities and Differences between Naturalism and Realism Both Naturalism and Realism were the genres of literature that appeared after the Civil War in the United States. The Realism and Naturalism first originated in Europe as a response to the Romanticism and Napoleonic War. People suffered from their misfortune and got depressed from the situation on which nothing had left but misery after the war. Likewise, in America, Realism and Naturalism came out in response to the miserable war, the Civil War. People lost their houses, families, properties and other things that they used to have.
They realized the Romanticism on which emphasized imagination never worked to their wretched life and God would never salvage them from the misfortunate life. Because the two literature genres appeared at this hard time, they were often written in a pessimistic way. Most stories were based on the realistic and scientific method and characters in the story often suffered from the unsympathetic environmental forces. However, even though both genres appeared spontaneously, they shared some different views too.
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Social Darwinism, pre destination, and determinism were prevailed in naturalism literature, whereas Realism didn’t emphasize too much on them. The writing style of Naturalism was more uncaring and unemotional, while Realism story shows the feeling of characters. Their similarities and differences reveal in the story “To build the fire,” by naturalism writer Jack London, and “The red badge of Courage” by Stephen Crane who wrote Realism literature. One of the similarities between Naturalism and Realism was that they didn’t mention God a lot in the story.
People at this time viewed God as useless and just an idealistic symbol that would never rescue them from the concrete society that they were facing. In the story “To build the fire,” God never appears and doesn’t try to rescue the man from the freezing weather. No one comes out in the story and saves him. The destiny is already given to him, and neither he nor God can change the fate. In the story “The red badge of courage,” which has Realism characteristics, hardly describes God in this story.
It only mentions how people die in the battle and describes people who badly got injured and cursed the war. Soldiers sometimes rely on God by saying “Oh, Lord” or “God is always with us,” when they were afraid, but most of the time they are pessimistic against God’s existence. If you look at Greek mythology, Gods appear several times during the war and try to figure out the war and conflict between people. However, in this story, God never comes out but everything is depending on human beings’ ability in the environment.
The pessimistic views that often time revealed in both genres are another similarity. The man in the story “To build the fire” first has positive thought that he could traverse the forest without companion. But, the weather is getting colder and colder, and he reached the moment that he could no longer endure the freezing weather. He decided to build the fire in the midst of journey. However, whenever he tired to build a fire, the environmental forces prevented him from making the fire. The book says “A certain fear of death, dull and oppressive, came to him.
High up in the tree one bough capsized its load of snow. This fell on the boughs beneath, capsizing them. This process continued, spreading out and involving the whole tree. It grew like an avalanche, and it descended without warning upon the man and the fire, and the fire was blotted out! ” This quote demonstrates the moment when the snow fell down to the fire the man built. After that, the man was so disappointed and became hopeless. As well, in “The red badge of courage,” soldiers were seriously wounded and had gory dresses after the some battle. They got tired and afraid of fighting again.
They were stuck in the cruel situation and didn’t believe if they could survive from this hell. The quote “The awkward bandage was still about his head, and upon it, over his wound, there was a pot of dry blood,” vividly describes how the soldier was wounded and triggers readers to think about the brutal scene of the war. In both stories, characters are trying to survive, or get over the situation. And, because of the harsh setting that they’re facing, they often feel regretful to their decision. In the story “To build the fire,” the man is an experiment source under the freezing weather.
He’s trying to survive from the forest. However, the external force is stronger than him. Before he decided to traverse the forest, he believed that he could do it. As the weather is getting colder, he regretted that why he ignored advice of Creek, the Indian chief. It was too late to go back when he regretted about his decision. The quote says “The old-timer on Sulfur Creek was right, he thought in the moment of controlled despair that ensued. ” In addition, in “The red badge of courage,” the character is trying to survive during the war.
At the beginning, the main character was very timid and didn’t have any courage to fight bravely. He just ran away from the troops as the enemies were seizing them. He was afraid of dying in the middle of war, and wanted survive from it. He reminded his mother often time, too. The book quoted “Her brown face, upraised, was stained with tears, and her spare form was quivering. He felt suddenly ashamed of his purposes” Even though both Realism and Naturalism came out at the same time thus shared lots of similarities, they also had different views. One of the disparities was writing style of two genres.
Realism has a vernacular, or a characteristic language of a particular era, whereas naturalism story “To build a fire” doesn’t have. Instead, writing style in Naturalism is often very indifferent to the main character. It doesn’t describe the interior feeling of main character but describes what main character looks like. For example, Jack London wrote “He could not bring his fingers together to pull them out, but he was able to gather them by the handful. In this way he got many rotten twigs and bits of green moss that were undesirable, but it was the best he could do.
He worked methodically, even collecting an armful of the larger branches to be used later when the fire gathered strength. ” This quote doesn’t reveal the inner mind of the man who was fighting against the coldness. It merely describes what he is making to survive in the potent external force. The narrator is very unemotional as though he didn’t care even if the man died in the forest. Unlike to the writing style of Naturalism, Realism has lots of dialogues in the story and the conversation reveals the characteristics of vernacular.
In “The red badge of courage,” One soldier says “I was allus a good friend t’yeh, was’n’t I, Henry? I’ve allus been a pretty good feller, ain’t I? ” While the narrator’s role in the Naturalism recounts most of the story, the narrator in Realism doesn’t. The dialogue between people often develops the story in Realism. Another difference between Realism and Naturalism is the ending of the story. As most main characters in Naturalism couldn’t surmount the harsh environment they were facing, the man in “To build the fire” dies in the end.
The quote stated on the last page “But the man remained silent. Later, the dog whined loudly. And, still later it caught the scent of death. ” The story indirectly indicates the death of the man who fought hard to get over the coldness but failed in the end. The results of the most Naturalism stories are often negative. However, the ending of Realism is not necessary to be pessimistic. On the last paragraph of “The red badge of courage,” the narrator says “He turned now with a lover’s thirst to images of tranquil skies, fresh meadows, and cool.
Over the rivers a golden ray of sun came through the hosts of leaden rain clouds. ” At the end of the story, the main character in this story was no longer a coward. He fought bravely after his colleagues’ death, and gradually was adapted to the environment of the war that he had faced. While the man in “To build the file” died even though he tried so hard to survive, the young soldier did survive from the battle and now reached to the stable point that didn’t’ afraid to the war anymore. On the last quote was what the young soldier was thinking.
He believed that after the war, all the glory, peace, and honor would come up to to him. In the literary works, many writers tend to reveal the characteristics of the society that they lived. Most writers in colonial era had their own writing style to disclose the early society in America. After the Independence from Britain, Romanticism writers triggered nationalism of Americans and encouraged people to move west and start a new life. Likewise, written in post-war era, Realism and Naturalism also had their own characteristics.
Both genres were very pessimistic, setting was often harsh and desperate, and there was no belief in God as they were written in the hard time. Since they appeared spontaneously, view on the society of America was very similar, and some differences were the writing style, emphasis on Social Darwinism and science. Whatever both Realism and Naturalism had some similarities and differences, their ultimate goal was the same. By writing concrete and realistic story, they advocated people’s unhappy feeling after the war and hoped that people would get over the misery by feeling sympathy with the stories. Work Cited