Compare and Contrast: The Similarities and Differences Between Realism and Naturalism
Realism and Naturalism
While being two separate literary movements, realism and naturalism have been at times used as interchangeable terms, sharing some deep-running similarities:
1) They are both "basic" views of life and humanity, stripping away the layers of romanticism to present a " natural" or "real" outlook of the work. They refuse to idealize or flatter the subject. They avoid artificial, fantasy, or supernatural elements.
2) Both of these pessimistic views emerged in the 19th century, a period known for its trials and turmoil.
3) God is absent from most of the writing in either category, with writers opting for a focus on the real world.
But despite these similarities, these two literary movements are separate for a reason.
1) Realism sought to be a faithful representation of life, while naturalism was more like a "chronicle of despair." In a way, naturalism proceeded from realism, and can be seen as an exaggerated form of realism; it shows humans as being determined by environment, heredity, and social conditions beyond their control, and thus rather helpless to escape their circumstances.
2) While in realism the main focus was on the middle class and its problems, naturalism often focused on poorly educated or lower-class characters, and on themes involving violence and taboo activities.
3) While in realism, faithful representation of reality including the details of nature is important, in Naturalism, nature itself is a force, generally a powerful, indifferent mechanism.
Realism in American Literature
Naturalism in American Literature
- Literary realism - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Different schools of realism. Naturalism as an outgrowth of realism.
- Naturalism (literature) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
"[Literary] naturalism was an outgrowth of literary realism..."
- Realism in American Literature
American literary realism: definitions, bibliography, links. Differences and similarities between realism and naturalism.