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

Updated on February 4, 2015
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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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      • profile image

        Basic White Girl 

        3 months ago

        Very helpful, concise and clear. Thank you.

      • profile image

        Thnkss 

        3 months ago

        Thankuu so much

      • profile image

        Cinderella_25 

        4 months ago

        Thanks

      • profile image

        rolo 

        5 months ago

        thanks so much

      • profile image

        sidra kainat 

        13 months ago

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

      • profile image

        ioan 

        14 months ago

        so helpful thank you very much

      • profile image

        Samantha 

        15 months ago

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

      • profile image

        farah 

        15 months ago

        wonderful

      • Boukhari Ziani profile image

        Boukhari Ziani 

        16 months ago from Algeria

        thanks a lot

      • profile image

        calistah ferrer 

        17 months ago

        thank you ;; its really helpful o us

      • profile image

        Hi my name is 

        19 months ago

        thanks for the info G

      • profile image

        2 years ago

        thx for tis

      • profile image

        eliezer 

        2 years ago

        nice info !

      • profile image

        Dr. No 

        2 years ago

        yes we can

      • profile image

        raj 

        3 years ago

        it is really hlps me

      • profile image

        eLLa 

        3 years ago

        Thank you!!! very much!!

      • profile image

        Jen 

        4 years ago

        Thank you!!

      • profile image

        Rivardo 

        6 years ago

        Thank you very much! It's helpful

      • profile image

        Asford mensah 

        6 years ago

        Very Useful

      • profile image

        samira dj 

        6 years ago

        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

      • profile image

        Mn 

        7 years ago

        It was useful and many thanks

      • profile image

        Sunil 

        7 years ago

        It ws really helpful

      • kirutaye profile image

        kirutaye 

        8 years ago from London, UK

        Useful hub. Thanks for sharing.

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