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How were Stephen Crane and Henry James writtings affected by the socio-political...

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maywest | eNotes Newbie

Posted December 3, 2007 at 4:58 AM via web

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How were Stephen Crane and Henry James writtings affected by the socio-political environment of the period as reflected in their literary pieces?

For example, the feminist consciousness was on the rising, Industrialization affected economic life and migration from the rural to city life grew during the period. 

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sullymonster | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted December 3, 2007 at 6:36 AM (Answer #1)

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Stephen Crane and Henry James wrote some of earliest realistic literature.  As opposed to the Romantic era, they did not try to glorify any particular part of life or of human being.  Instead, they sought to portray the darker sides of society, to show how the traditions of the social classes and the changing economy was affecting the average person.

Because the equality and position of women was being more closely studied, both authors presented heroines that struggle due to economic and social restraints.  For example, Crane's Maggie: A Girl of the Streets demonstrates the inability of women to rise above their station.  Unlike men, they had few employment opportunities and were at the mercy of others.  Also, as shown in Maggie, women were subject to more disadvantage from social approval.  To be considered "unladylike" was to prevent any possible assistance.  James shows this as well, particularly in Daisy Miller.  In this novel, the herione becomes the center of gossip and loses influence because her behavior has defied tradition. 

Industrialization had an impact on the mood of their writings as well.  While this movement brought economic security for many, it tore families and tradition apart.  When once families stayed together and lived in small circles, the movement to the cities was creating friction and diversity.  Conditions there were harsh, promoting both isolation.

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