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Free Example of Realism Essay

Realism is a literary technique that is used to represent the actual nature of events as opposed to the concept of idealism that focuses on an individual’s idea. It takes a specific action and the resultant factor of such an action. Realism has various characteristics. It describes events in full and complete detail. It focuses more on the characters in the book than the actions or the topic. It uses simplified language that is not finely tuned or expressive as was the case in the romantic era. Most of the subjects for the plot are based on complex ethical situations.

 This movement began in France as a reaction to the romantic era. Although an art form it was mostly used to depict the lives of those in the middle class. The romanticists surpassed actual events and created a perfect world that was purely fictional. The movement was brought to America by William Howell and to England by George Ellis. William Howell saw the concept of realism as an appeal to action. He was of the opinion that fiction should not be used to deceive on the realities of life. He wanted the contemporary writers to use language that was understood by the common people (Berthoff 1965, p. 22). This was not well received especially by the elite of the society. They saw realism as too common and described it as vulgar.

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A research paper titled ‘mark twain and the school of American realism,’ Critics of the realism movement were of the thought that as an art form, it needed to be protected from common folk and incorporate noble thinking, ideal emotions and characters. Realism was seen as interference to the ideal environment that was inhabited by the nobles and a betrayal of the concept of fine literature. Howells in his response stated that a novel written in the realism form was for those that did not have use for their eyes. (Trachtenberg, pp.185-186) like many others who followed his realism movement they wrote on the problems affecting their society and not preach against them as did the contemporary writers who opposed the movement. The movement was described as not only being a literary one but a moral movement as well. In his first realist novel to be published in America, he sought to give insight into the effects of capitalism. He wanted to show how this was benefiting the few while being a liability to the working class. Howells believed that the working class should be adequately represented and not frowned upon (Berthoff, p. 227). He was also the editor of a publication and he used this position to promote the works of various other authors who promoted his thinking such as mark twain and henry James. This is as opposed to Howells apologist nature of writing when he approached matters. Mark twain was frank and rarely tempered his prose.

A good example is his novel the innocents abroad where he were a result of letters he had been commissioned to write. He speaks of the hypocrites he was travelling with to the holy lands and frankly describes his interactions with the natives he encounters at the various stops he makes on his voyage to the holy lands (Cleas, p. 56). Although he had been commissioned to write about the various sites he saw in his journey, he mainly centred on the pilgrims and his fellow travellers (Emerson, p. 48). His description and sarcastic writing was meant to cast a moral judgement towards themHowell became twain’s mentor and although Howell was more concerned with the sale of his books and this was the reason for his less hard hitting writing as opposed to the frank nature of twain. He describedtwain’s writing as real and although he made changes to his manuscripts, he hoped that he would use the original scripts (Emerson, pp. 94-95).

The novel huckleberry Finn that was published in the year 1885 is seen as the corner stone for realism. The tale sought to describe the life of a runaway boy who is orphaned and has to struggle to fend for himself.He is an orphan and his morals are often in contrast to those of the surrounding society. The book has themes of racism and slavery that he portrays by describing them as they were in the real world. In his quest to make the novel more real to the reader, the book uses the region dialect and colloquial English. For example characters such as Jim the slave who are uneducated use short words in a form of slang and improper English grammar; while those who are educated such as Miss Watson speak clearly using proper English language.He also described the feelings of some of the people to create a controversial setting in the society. In its effort to manifest social problems so that theyare known to the readers, we see the problems that huckleberry under goes as a slave and an orphan and the struggle with himself to do the right thing for his friends although this may land him in a lot of trouble.

Twain uses satire to criticize society, which is the use of humor to elaborate situations.There is rampant hypocrisy in the religious and educational aspects and twain uses very unusual albeit true examples to elaborate this. His use of realism is meant to speak to the readers that the characters are far from perfect but they have their strengths and their weak points in their lives just as the real world is. Just as other characters, huckleberry is often caught in incidences of crime and other scenarios that find them in conflict withtheir morals. Unlike in romanticism, the characters here are not over the top or made to appear perfect and upright. The characters here are not far off form a real life situation. Even the setting of the novel is engineered to appear as close to the real thing as it possibly can. There is a lot of imagery, metaphors and similes toput his point across, for example he uses an entire page just to describe a sunrise (Twain p 117).

The writer uses different language to fit the description for the characters in question. This creates a realistic fell to the novel. Just as in his book, the innocents abroad, he uses satire to criticize the characters in the way they act in the presence of other people while hiding their true intentions.  This is especially for those in positions of authority. In huckleberryFinn, two characters, duke and dauphin who pretend to be nobles when they meet with Jim and huckleberry,but in reality are common does not take long for huckleberry to discover that they are not noble but thieves. Duke in his part, tries to pass of his knowledge of Shakespeare but keeps mixing up his lines. He mixes up hamlet and Macbeth. (Twain p 136) in this, Twain takes to ridicule those who pretend to be knowledgeable but in true essence they do not know anything or very little.

Another aspect that twain uses to mock society is that of religion. In the novel, there are two rivalling families, the grangerfords and the Shepherdsons’. They do not trust one another to an extent of the men caring guns to the church when they attended service. They are cautious of each other even when they agree that the sermon was quite true on the topic of brotherly love.  They may attend church but do not apply the teaching to their immediate lives. Huckleberry stays with them for a while and has a glance at their lives when they are by themselves and their conduct while in the presence of others. They appear godly when in public but have complete disregard for the same Christian values they profess.In the same light that people in society inhibit pretentious character, society has over a period of time shown behaviour that is selfish and self-centred. In this regard those living in it at the particular time have grown accustomed to this behaviour and it becomes acceptable to them.

In the novels setting, people of black raceand those enslaved faced the worst situations since they were seen as inferior to the white race. Huckleberry is seen to uphold some of these traits and endeavours to effectively advocate them although he knows that some of them are not right. He looks down on Jim as a slave. He and Tom Sawyer play tricks on him and make fun of his beliefs. He even writes a letter to demand that Jim be brought back as he does not deserve to be free. He does not seem concerned with the fact that duke and dauphin are con men. He seems to think that is in order. It is twain’s explanation that since these is the morals taught to him from birth, and so for him to act the way he does is acceptable. Later he comes to realize this is not really morally right and changes.

In the end, huckleberry sees that is not the right the kind of morals that is expected of him. It is here that he struggles with himself as per what he thinks is right versus what the society accepts as right. This causes him to be in conflict with his father and others whose morals are accepted by the society. He even helps two sisters who are being conned by duke and dauphin and tells them where to find the hidden money. He feels that stealing is not right regardless of the situation. The most impressive change is where he rebels the notion that Negros’ should not be treated inferior. He now sees Jimas a kind and gives him respect he deserves. He is willing to transform in to a person who thinks for himself just like his friend tom sawyer. He wants to understand what is right and what is not.

Through this book, twain attempts to show the shortcomings and ignorance of the society with the use of realism ad detailed description. Using realism, he shows the immoral nature of slavery, that they are not equal to people but animals and that this idea is accepted by society. Twain enables the reader to see the frustrations that surround the people who undergo such indecencies. He uses the point of view of huckleberry a young boy who has not yet been habituated by the morals of society but has begun to see through the eyes of the same society. In contrast to the world in which tom sawyer lives which is more or less a fairy tale, this is in relation to a real world with real problems and real people. The characters do not have any special gifts or treatment but are like any other persons in any situation. He shows that the slaves and the Negros are just like any other persons.He shows the gullible nature of the society, when duke and dauphin go into the village and pretend to be a pirate who lost his crew, the village people form a collection for him. (Twain 128)

Twain uses humour to make the story interesting and keep the reader involved.A good example is where Miss Watson tries to be a better Christian but still owns slaves (Twain 5) this is also the case when pap becomes outraged at the thought of a black man having to vote and it then turn out that he is more educated than he is. Twain contrasts between Huck and Tom Sawyer. Tom is a boy from a working class family, who attends school, church and is well off financially. On the other hand, huckleberry is from a poverty ridden family with a drunken father who did not care much for him and treats him unfairly. In spite of all this he still has a go happy attitude. He holds the same ideologies as the society around him but he seems to have a trait of looking in. As he ages, writers turns towards form realism to naturalism in which nature is depicted as challenging and man is shown as a survivor.

William F Byrne in his research has it that, Huck has been forced to act more mature than his age due to the circumstances he is being brought up in.his lives by his intellect, he strives to make the most of the situations he finds himself. It is this wit that enables him to escape from his father by faking his own death. He does not have an imaginative mind as opposed to his friend tom sawyer. Tom is full of adventure and romanticism and is constantly acting out these scenes as an example.

The novel huckleberry Finn is meant for adults unlike tom sawyer which is children’s book. Being an adult book, twain has a good platform to point out the vices in society und drive his point home. Huck does not have many needs as opposed to tom that has worldly desires and he wants adventure that the town of St. Petersburg does not offer. Twain sought to educate his readers on the dangers of living a romanticized world by giving them an insight into what they would expect from the real world.

Code: writers15

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