The Influence Of The Naturalism Movement

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The Naturalism movement, much like its companion movement of Realism, focuses on depicting life as it is. According to the Norton, Naturalist writers wrote about “human life as it was shaped by forces beyond human control,” and these forces are deemed to be society, heredity, environment or just bad luck or Fate, mostly within the context of lower classes. Darwin’s theory of evolution and Herbert Spencer’s famous quotation of “survival of the fittest” are applied into the vernacular surrounding Naturalism as well, adding to its scientific integrity (10). Naturalists aimed to tell their fiction within these scientific outlooks to present a realistic world that may come more “comprehensible to middle class readers” (11). The Naturalist …show more content…

A good marriage means a superior and acceptable livelihood and reputation. The “fit” in this case are the women who can successfully win over a husband, and there seemed to be no limits or reservations to the strategies that one could utilize. The aggressive strategy used here was sending a letter in hopes of sabotaging and infecting a “friend” with potential sickness. It is, of course, the competition for a mate that fuels this unadulterated hatred. After the betrayal has been revealed Mrs. Ansley “met the challenge with an unexpected composure” (834). Even within this context, their society forces them to challenge each other but within social graces. The environment or rather their society is what pits them against each other. In another world they could be happy friends, friends like their daughters are starting to be able to do. Freedom for women yields real friendships. Wharton is not proposing that mere companionship will tame society completely; friendships are not the end all. One cannot repair the Ruins of Rome in a day, but you can prevent the Fever. Stephen Crane’s “The Open Boat,” is more overtly pointing to the importance of companionship. The Norton points out the implications of Crane’s story: “because human beings are exposed to a savage world of chance where death is always imminent, they would do well to learn the art of sympathetic identification with others and how to practice solidarity” (12). There seems to be plenty of sympathy and

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