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Can realism be defined within the fiction novel?Right now, I'm trying to depict the...

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professordonnie | eNotes Newbie

Posted July 22, 2010 at 11:34 AM via web

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Can realism be defined within the fiction novel?

Right now, I'm trying to depict the realism that is presented within Stevenson's novel.  I believe in a novel, to be defined as realism, there must be action which is set in real places, does not violate rules of reality, and characters who behave like real people. If anyone could clearly define this question, by given examples and quotes from the story - I would forever be grateful.

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sensei918 | College Teacher | (Level 1) Associate Educator

Posted July 22, 2010 at 2:13 PM (Answer #1)

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"The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" is a story about the conflict between science and religion and about the duality of the human mind/spirit. As such it contains elements of realism, but the story itself resides in the science fiction/fantasy genre since the basic premise - that Dr. Jeckyll can drink a potion and become a different person- is not realistic.  The story does take place in a realistic setting, London in the 19th century. It does contain elements of realism in the descriptions of the professional men of the time, the crime in the streets, the way the houses were furnished, and the diction of the characters.  The characters do behave like real people. Even Hyde behaves like a person, if that person were a sociopathic criminal. However, because the plot contains elements that are not based in reality, it cannot be categorized as realistic. Fiction may not be the truth, but it contains elements of truth that are recognizable to the reader. Moreover, good fiction examines real issues and ideas in honest ways through the plots and characters of the stories.

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