Realism period of American Literature - 1855-1900

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Content:

  • common characters not idealized (immigrants, laborers)
  • people in society defined by class
  • society corrupted by materialism
  • emphasizes moralism through observation

Style:

  • novel and short stories are important
  • prefers objective narrator
  • dialogue includes many voices from around the country does not tell the reader how to interpret the story

Effect:

  • social realism: aims to change a specific social problem
  • aesthetic realism: art that insists on detailing the world as one sees it

Historical Context:

  • Civil War brings demand for a "truer" type of literature that does not idealize people or places

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