Following Reconstruction After The Civil War, The Literary

1580 WordsFeb 5, 20177 Pages
Following reconstruction after the Civil War, the literary movement of realism gained popularity. Therefore, many works of literature during the late 1800s used realism as a key component. Two prominent pieces that exemplify this during this time period are “Daisy Miller” by Henry James and “The Yellow Wall-Paper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman. Both of these works have elements of realism, however; “The Yellow Wall-Paper” is more effective in utilizing elements of realism than “Daisy Miller”. Realism, according to Howells, is ordinary he believes the novel should “be the sincere and conscientious endeavor to picture life just as it is” (552). Therefore, the story should be portrayed as close as possible to the lives of ordinary people…show more content…
This does not seem to portray ordinary Americans lives. These details seem to imply that the story centers on characters that are fairly well off in terms of wealth. This is apparent about the Millers from Daisy’s younger brother, Randolph who comments about their father who does business in Schenectady and is rich (James 332). This information takes away from the realism in the story. Another aspect of this piece that does not fit with Howell’s version of realism is the character of Daisy. Daisy is a complex character who challenges social constructs of this time. Shortly after meeting Winterbourne, Daisy tells him, “I have always had a great deal of gentleman’s society” (James 333). This quote is her explaining her many male friends as well as her female friends. This brings up the idea of gender norms during this time period. She is a women but because of her interactions with men, she considers herself part of “gentleman’s society” (James 333). Not only does she not consider herself similar to other women in society, other characters are offended by her behavior as a women during this time period. For example, Mrs. Walker condemns her saying, “flirting with any man she can pick up” (James 353). This exemplifies the gender and social norms at the time, as no one has an issue with Winterbourne’s activities with various women. It is fairly well known that Winterbourne has a lady in Geneva, “a foreign lady- a person
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