Literature and Social Reality

1340 WordsApr 13, 20126 Pages
Literature and Social Reality xxxx ENG/492 xxxx xxxx In this paper I will discuss and analyze the social forces of immigration and industrialization that shape literature during the period of 1865 to 1912. I will describe the major literary movements of the period. Additionally I will explain how Realism and Naturalism influenced the literature of the period, how immigration and industrialization contributed to the influences. I will illustrate using examples from some of the greatest authors of the period. Immigration and Industrialization The United States’ population grew quickly in the late 1800s and early 1900s. Baym (2008) et al. write that there were 38.5 million people in 1870 and had grown to 92 million…show more content…
Mark Twain was one of the major authors and his “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” is an excellent example of his style, which became regarded as a leading piece for the “American style” (Baym et al., 2008, p. 6). Twain used colloquial speech and his writing style puts the reader in the position of participant, almost as if in a dialogue with Huck. It is a very intimate and informal way of writing. Huckleberry Finn is uneducated and sees the world through the lens of his own experience as well as the social circumstances and mores of the time. In chapter 23 of “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” Huck ponders about Jim, his African American companion on his adventure: “He was thinking about his wife and his children, away up yonder, and he was low and homesick; because he hadn’t ever been away from home before in his life; and I do believe he cared just as much for his people as white folks do for their’n. It don’t seem natural, but I reckon it is so” (Baym et al., 2008, p. 204). This passage realistically illustrates the view of a young boy at the time who only knows the world through the social context of his time and place, which included slavery and a very derogatory view of African Americans. Twain was very critical and pessimistic about humankind and his writing often reflected this. However with Huck Finn he appears to be attempting to show
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