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Compare and Contrast: The Similarities and Differences Between Realism and Naturalism

Realism and Naturalism

While being two separate literary movements, realism and naturalism have been at times used as interchangeable terms, sharing some deep-running similarities:

1) They are both "basic" views of life and humanity, stripping away the layers of romanticism to present a " natural" or "real" outlook of the work. They refuse to idealize or flatter the subject. They avoid artificial, fantasy, or supernatural elements.

2) Both of these pessimistic views emerged in the 19th century, a period known for its trials and turmoil.

3) God is absent from most of the writing in either category, with writers opting for a focus on the real world.

But despite these similarities, these two literary movements are separate for a reason.

1) Realism sought to be a faithful representation of life, while naturalism was more like a "chronicle of despair." In a way, naturalism proceeded from realism, and can be seen as an exaggerated form of realism; it shows humans as being determined by environment, heredity, and social conditions beyond their control, and thus rather helpless to escape their circumstances.

2) While in realism the main focus was on the middle class and its problems, naturalism often focused on poorly educated or lower-class characters, and on themes involving violence and taboo activities.

3) While in realism, faithful representation of reality including the details of nature is important, in Naturalism, nature itself is a force, generally a powerful, indifferent mechanism.

Realism in American Literature

Naturalism in American Literature

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Cinderella_25 on December 04, 2018:


rolo on November 18, 2018:

thanks so much

sidra kainat on March 29, 2018:

it is relevant and helpful material about literary movements, thanks a lot,,,,,

ioan on February 25, 2018:

so helpful thank you very much

Samantha on January 17, 2018:

i do believe they share similarities, its so hard to differentiate

farah on January 15, 2018:


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Jen on May 23, 2014:

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Rivardo on June 19, 2012:

Thank you very much! It's helpful

Asford mensah on May 16, 2012:

Very Useful

samira dj on April 29, 2012:

i don't think so ; that realism and naturalism are two separet field of the study , both are two sides of the same coin since they share many similarities

Mn on April 13, 2012:

It was useful and many thanks

Sunil on January 16, 2012:

It ws really helpful

kirutaye from London, UK on December 03, 2010:

Useful hub. Thanks for sharing.

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