The Importance Of Realism In The War Prayer

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As the United States grew as a nation, it developed its own identity throughout literature and other arts. While American Literature initially mimicked the styles of its European counterparts, by the turn of the twentieth century, two uniquely American movements had emerged: Realism and Naturalism (Levine 7). Realism is characterized by informal language and middle class characters creating a familiarity for the audience when reading (Levine 7). This literary movement can be found throughout the works of many of the time period’s authors, including Samuel L. Clemens, commonly known by his pen name, Mark Twain (Levine 112). In one particular work of his, “The War Prayer”, Twain uses common themes of Realism in order to illustrate his point and establish a connection with the reader. Twain utilizes vivid imagery and vernacular language to more effectively capture a common event that the general public would be familiar with during the time period the piece was written in and voice his opinions on decisive issues regarding war. Considering the response to the story’s message and how this response has evolved over time, historical criticism can be used to demonstrate how “The War Prayer” is within the literary style of Realism. “The War Prayer”, though short in length, is filled with illustrative language that creates a relatable scene for its audience. Written in the early 1900’s, Twain connects the audience to the story by creating a realistic depiction of a Sunday church
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