Naturalism by Garland

603 Words Oct 15th, 2012 3 Pages
Naturalism by Garland Naturalism is a literary movement that encapsulates the struggles of the common population. Hamlin Garland presents an excellent example of Naturalist literature in his short story “Under the Lion’s Paw”, published in 1889. In this short story, many of Dr. Stephen doCarmo’s characteristics of Naturalism are visible. Dr. doCarmo describes three broad characteristics of Naturalism: individuals are subjected to larger uncontainable forces, political undertones are prevalent within the work, and the subject matter of the work appeals to the middle-class. “Under the Lion’s Paw” possesses all three of these characteristics and radiates naturalism. Dr. doCarmo’s first and most important characteristic of a …show more content…
Mr. Butler represents capitalistic society taking advantage of the common people: Mr. Haskins and his family. After Mr. Haskins had worked towards purchasing the farm from Mr. Butler, he is met with resistance in the form of an unexpected price increase, to which he rebuts, “But you’ve done nothing to make it so. You hain’t added a cent. I put it all there myself, expectin’ to buy” (Garland 761). Garland, as if to emphasize the element of naturalism, writes, “Butler laughed” and has Butler respond to Mr. Haskins, “The law will sing another tune” (Garland 761). Throughout this story the reader is encouraged to pull for the underdog. Mr. Haskins and his family represent a family met with hardship, an underdog, potentially pulling themselves up from the bottom and ascending towards success. This subject matter would be unknown to a middle class, well to do family, and as Dr. doCarmo explains: “Naturalist works often deal with subjects most comfortable middle-class readers wouldn’t consider part of their ordinary lives” (doCarmo). Most middle class readers have never faced losing everything such as livelihood, money, and home. This automatically captivates them in the beginning of the story. Garland holds the attention of the middle class by reminding the reader of this unknown throughout the story: “It was the memory of this homelessness, and the fear of its coming again, that spurred Timothy Haskins and Nettie, his wife, to such ferocious labor

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