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Literature During The Civil War And The Yellow Wall Paper By Charlotte Perkins Gilman

Decent Essays
Following the Civil War and the reconstruction time period that followed it lead to realism, as a literacy movement, gaining prominence. Therefore, many works of literature during the late 1800s used realism as a key component. Two prominent pieces that used realism 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 (Norton Anthology 548). It portrays the story as close to the reality of ordinary people’s lives as possible (Norton Anthology 548). Instead of making the characters,…show more content…
Daisy is a complex character who challenges social constructs of this time. For example, Daisy enjoys independence and she is flirtatious with multiple men (James 359). For the time period her personality is not socially accepted and she as a character is seen as bad. Her character challenged social norms, however, she does not fit with Howells definition of realism. This is not a realistic character, according to Howells, because a realistic character would have been more ordinary, not a women in the 1800s that challenges social constructs. The story of “Daisy Miller” also has some realistic elements to it such as the dialogue and diseases like Malaria that ends up taking Daisy’s life (James 365). However, the character of Daisy and the setting in which the characters interact is not realism according to Howells. Particularly, during this time period in which setting and social norms would have been very different that today. Nonetheless, the story of “The Yellow Wallpaper” is a much better example of realism according to Howells. This is especially true considering the time period. The narrator in this story is suffering from a mental conditions, referenced to be postpartum depression (Gilman 491). This is not a condition that would have been understood by anyone, and therefore, the way it was treated for the narrator makes sense for the time period. She was confined to a room where she was forced
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