Realism and Naturalism in American Literature Essay

1069 Words Jul 4th, 2013 5 Pages
Katelynn Craig
English 3883
Dr. Charles DeShong
15 March 2013
Realism in Huckleberry Finn
Between the end of the civil war in 1865 to about 1910, two styles of literature dominated American literature: realism and naturalism. Realism presents the world as it really is. One of the well known writers of realism, William Dean Howell’s, wrote “realism in nothing more and nothing less than the truthful treatment of material.” Realism in literature tends to be the plain and direct account of whatever is being written about. Writers of realism fill their work with facts to complement the readers’ feelings of the fact that these things can happen in their everyday lives. Realists are sure to write about normal, everyday people, living normal
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In the explanatory text before the story, Twain explains the dialect of the characters, “the Missouri negro dialect; the extremest form of the form of the backwood South-Western dialect; the ordinary “Pike-County” dialect; and four modified varieties of this last.” The dialect is accurate to each role the character plays, making the text as real and relatable as possible. The use of diction that fits each character, time period, and location is another way in which The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn becomes a novel to fit the idea of realism.
The use of satire throughout the novel allows Twain to expose and identify the true character of each individual. While characters like the two conmen and religious figures walk around and present themselves as highly educated and righteous, they really are lacking in their lives. The two conmen are exactly that, conmen. Their education is lacking and Huck catches on and identifies that, “"It didn't take me long to make up my mind that these liars warn't no kings nor dukes at all, but just low-down humbugs and frauds." Those that claim to be religious only act this way in public. They all attend church, like the Grangerfords and the Shepherdsons, but never use the lessons taught in church and apply them to their home lives. Twain shows Tom’s lack of logic when Tom is creating a plan to save Jim. There are parts of the plan that are so unrealistic and out of this world that they have to