Transcendentalism, Realism, and Naturalism are literary movements, among many, that were cultivated over time by many artists, poets, and writers that shaped America’s literature over the years. These literary movements inspired many ideas throughout America and had an impact on people during the time periods they were established in.
Realism was a repercussion against Romanticism. Romantic writers often addressed their emotions and personal experiences in their writings. Realism emphasized the ordinary, day-to-day life that people lived. Realist writers, however, would write in a more symbolic and objective way. They stressed the idea of how life was structured in every aspect, such as, socially, politically, economically, and culturally in the 1800s. This movement is identified as the first modern movement that rejected traditional forms of literature as obsolete in the wake of Enlightenment. These are excerpts from Because I Could for Death is an example of Realism:
“Because I could not stop for Death –
He kindly stopped for me –
The Carriage held but just Ourselves –
And Immortality.” (Dickinson)
“We slowly drove – He knew no haste
And I had put away
My labor and my leisure too,
For His Civility –” (Dickinson
This excerpt is referring to a woman who has just died and is talking about the process of how Death took her. She dies peacefully and was going into the afterlife. Dickinson is describing what it was like for the woman and how her afterlife
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Realism is the period in American literature from 1860 to 1890. This movement in writing focused on writing about how things really appeared and how they really were instead of writing in a dark manner. The stories, Life On The Mississippi and The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County written by Mark Twain best represent the realism movement in American literature at this time.
In essence, literary realism is put in place to give its readers a real place of how life was or how something occurs in the pass. The two stories that gave me a good depiction of what realism is are: Editha by William Dean Howells, and The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman. The two stories put things in perspective when it comes to life in the nineteenth century and the problems that came along with it. Which are so unfortunate in some cases but it gives us the readers the raw truth.
The time period of transcendentalism changed the views of many people through setting different principles otherwise known as tenets. These tenets I am going to focus on is: confidence, self-reliance, free thought, nonconformity, and the importance of nature. Transcendentalism was a philosophical movement in the 1800’s where people responded to the strict rules back then. They declared that they didn’t have to follow all of the rules and decided to go off of independent tenets. Many pieces of literature contain some or all of these tenets, the ones I’m going to discuss and analyze today are Still I Rise by Maya Angelou that focuses on self-reliance and stanza 1 and 52 from Song of Myself by Walt Whitman which focuses on all tenets of transcendentalism. All of the 5 tenets are very important, but the one that overcomes all the others in my life is confidence. Many pieces of literature contain at least all tenets, but reference them in different ways.
Realism began as a literary withdrawal from romanticism. Romantic literature focused mainly on idealized or dreamlike lifestyles while “realistic works were intended to be accurate portrayals of
“Don’t go around saying the world owes you a living. The world owes you nothing. It was here first” (Mark Twain). Realism is a faithful representation of reality that isn’t swayed by unconscious bias or idealistic aims. Realism arose in literature from the period of the civil war where authors showed more truthiness in their writings (Campbell). Jack London and Mark Twain convey the theme that humans have faults through their different styles of writing in their works, “To Build a Fire” and “The Lowest Animal”.
Transcendentalism was an intellectual/spiritual movement supporting intellectual independence and intuition by observing nature, largely dominant in Boston. Transcendentalists wrote many papers, and essays and further developed the philosophy as the true power of the free conscious and that self-reliant or independent men were inherently good by nature, and that organized/political parties were causing corruption and sin within the US. They also believed humans could obtain original insights from observing nature, with little influence from past writings. Transcendental signified the growing desire for independent thought and individualism within America, which would further develop and seep through to politics forming a more democratic
Transcendentalism is an idea shared by many famous 19th century authors. Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Jon Krakauer, and Michael Donovan all believe in the idea of transcendentalism and it is shown in many of their literary works. Many of the authors show a nonconformist character in their story or poem. Some of them portray themselves as the nonconformist. Nonconformists believe that you should find and be yourself. They also believe that you should never change yourself to fit in with the world or society.
A new movement emerged after the American Revolution, a moment known as Transcendentalism. Drunk with the joy of independence yet horrified by slavery, it was a movement that encouraged its followers to seek individual freedom, to fight for the rights of women and slaves, and to look towards nature for inspiration and the Divine. It was a movement that combined the best of past philosophical moments. It adopted the value of action from the Renaissance. Action was a virtue and in Transcendentalism it was viewed a as a means for human progress. It was not enough to be an intellectual, what counted was what a person did with that information. From the Enlightenment, Transcendentalism adopted the belief of reason and individuality. No longer was it acceptable to simply follow the herd and accept beliefs as they were presented. Transcendentalists encouraged their followers to seek the true, to question and probe everything that appeared before them, for it is truth that sets the individual free. Even more prevalent in Transcendentalism were the beliefs found in Romanticism. Nature was seen a refuge for the soul, a place in which one could become in touch with the Divine. Transcendentalism fought against social restraints, particularly in the realm of religion and literature. Although differing either through the evolution of thought or perspectives, writers such as Emerson, Thoreau, Whitman and Dickson are perfect examples of Transcendental American literature. Together, these
American Transcendentalism is a period of expression where was originally about the reform movement of the church, it was to represent the soul of the individual having a connection to nature. It has impacted society through the influence of the ideas that still exist today, the idea of spirituality and the soul's infinite connection.
In literature, the Realism Movement occurred in Europe and America in the mid-1800s to the early 1900s, before Modernism. Realism is described as a style and a type of writing where writers wanted to portray life as it really was – real lives, real jobs, and real problems. This type of writing was a reaction to and a rejection of Romanticism, which was a style of writing that focused on optimism. The importance of character and class, plausible events, and renders reality closely are some characteristics of Realism. Some examples of Realism writers include Mark Twain, Henry James, and John W. DeForest.
Realism, in contrast to Romanticism, represents the reality of life in America. From the late 19th century to the early 20th century, America experienced enormous industrial, economic, social, and cultural change. Realism focuses on showing everyday activities and events among the middle and lower class society without romantic ideas. In the early 20th century people started to pull away from fantasy and started focusing on the reality around them. Realism emphasises on truth, class, and social commentary.
Transcendentalism was largely influenced by the earlier Romantic Movement which was filled with innovative and imaginative ideas. Similar to the Romantic's Transcendentalist wanted to break away from the old European models of organized institutions such as religion and politics. There was also the strict confines of the Age of Reason's rationalist way of thinking that stirred up a rebellious reaction within the literary traditional period of Transcendentalism. Transcendentalist believed religion and politics negatively tainted an individual’s innocence.
Realism in literature is basically the successor to romanticism. It first took off and gained footing in 19th century France. The literary style is a more straightforward and realistic style of writing in comparison to romanticism which was all about exaggeration and symbolism. Realism is often interchangeable with naturalism and branches out into regionalism which is interchangeable with local color. This type of writing is responsible for one of the greatest era of literary works.
Transcendentalism and Romanticism were social, artistic, and literary movements that originated in the 18th century in New England. It arose as a reaction to protest against the general state of intellectualism and spirituality at the time. The two movements have many differences and comparisons that both intertwine to create a positive and negative aspect of human nature. Transcendentalism and romanticism have both a negative and positive aspect of human nature, and both compare and contrast within one another because they stand out during the time period, and was an important side of the industrial revolution. Transcendentalism was expressed through central figures such as Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau, who wrote many novels