Difference between Realism and Naturalism

Difference between Realism and Naturalism

The modern era in English literature was full of the ‘isms’ that led to an important development in the literary field. These ‘isms’ gave a new look to the literary works published and were mostly the result of the various experiments done by the writers in this era. In the chase to try something new for their works, the writers came up with different techniques that gave a new mode to the field of writing.

Among these isms were symbolism, realism, naturalism, imagism, surrealism, and the like. All of these had an equal importance in the field of writing. But let us discuss about the two ‘isms’ that appear to be almost similar in their meaning yet share differences. They may also provide assignment help to literature students on the topic.

Research paper writing have provided two views to look at realism:

  1. A name denoted to the movement that identified the writing of novels on the nineteenth and the twentieth centuries especially those of George Eliot in England, Honore de Balzac in France and William Dean Howells in America.
  2. As a name used to denote the recurring era in the field of literature, that represented human life and experiences in the truest sense.

It has been a general tradition to differentiate realism from romanticism. The latter takes us into a dream world and provides a picture we wish we would have been able to witness in real.

It portrays before us an adventurous, fantastic, picturesque and heroic world wherein everything tends to end on a happy note. Realism is in complete opposition of the themes of romanticism. In case of realism everything is presented as it appears in the real world.

No fantastic element is added in order to increase the demand for the work. On the other hand, the realistic writer writes in a way so as to attract the audience without adding anything that is out of the world. But if we try to differentiate solely on the terms of subject matter, we are always going to be left with something inadequate.

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Winston Churchill, Casanova and T. E. Lawrence were the people in real life, but a reading of their autobiographies would leave us wondering upon the fact that truth can be something stranger than literary realism. Rather it is more useful to identify realism in terms of the perspective of the reader. Virtual learning over traditional learning

As a matter of fact, the realistic fiction is written to give the effect of experiences that appear normal to the reader, as they happen in everyday life. This evokes the sense in the readers that the character might really exist and that such a situation might have actually happened in real life.

To achieve this effect, the realists may not be that selective in subject matter and may or may not choose places that exist and habits that are usually witnessed, this choosing the common than going for the rarer. Irrespective of whatever these realists choose the way they write must appear to the reader as if they are experiencing something happening around them.

An example of such a way of writing can be Daniel Defoe, who dealt with the extraordinary adventures of the shipwrecked mariner Robinson Crusoe and with the extraordinary adventures of the woman names Moll Flanders.

But the manner he wrote his novels in- reportorial manner of narrating all events, whether ordinary of extraordinary- held a mirror up to the reality.  In the contemporary times, writers like Franz Kafka, and magical realists like Salman Rushdie, employ fantastical elements in their works and yet strike the balance of reality.

The structural critics, preceded by the Russian formalists, said that both the techniques of rendering a subject matter and the subject matter itself, in a realistic novel, depended on their accordance with literary codes and convention, interpretation of which the reader has learnt in a way that makes the text seem a reflection of everyday reality.

The theorists in their research paper writings, have also brought forth the point that since all the literary representations are constituted by arbitrary conventions, it becomes difficult to hold one work of fiction more realistic than the other.

However, it has been mostly witnessed that some novels produce a greater impact on the reader, of representing the ordinary course of events. There may be skepticism about the possibility of fictional realism, but this may not be an empirical doctrine absolutely based in the reader’s experience but a metaphysical doctrine that denies the existence of any objective reality that independent of varying the human culture.

Although not very different from realism, naturalism is said to give a deeper impact and a more vivid representation of human life than realism itself. Like realism, it is a special selection of subject matter and the way of rendering this matter.

But naturalism is a mode of fiction developed by the school of writers, in line with the philosophical thesis. This thesis, which was a product of Darwin’s theory, stated that human beings are a product of nature and do not have any soul nor access to a religious or spiritual world. Therefore, it stated that such a being is just a higher order in animal whose behavior and character are controlled by environment and heredity.

Every human being inherits some compulsive instincts like hunger, sexuality, desire to possess and the like and with these qualities he then moves to the outer world wherein he is controlled by the environment.

Emile Zola, the French novelist worked much upon this theory. He, along with other naturalist writers like Stephen Crane, Frank Norris and Theodore Dreiser, tried to represent their subjects with scientific objectivity, even going to the extent of sometimes including medical frankness about bodily functions that were never talked about in literature.

They choose a character that has more given into these animal drives this making the ending of the naturalist novels, tragic.

Therefore, these were a few points in realism and naturalism that students may note down for assignment help usa on the topic. The points are sufficient enough to provide a brief basic on the topic.


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