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I need help on starting an analytical essay explaining how the historical events during...

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carsonpearson | Student, Grade 11 | (Level 1) Honors

Posted January 22, 2013 at 8:19 PM via web

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I need help on starting an analytical essay explaining how the historical events during 1865-1915 influenced the literary movements of realism, frontier realism, and naturalism.

Realism, frontier realism, and naturalism were the literary movements during the period of 1865–1915.The essay needs to mention this some where in it.

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Karen P.L. Hardison | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

Posted January 26, 2013 at 2:01 PM (Answer #1)

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Realizing this is a large endeavor you are undertaking, you'll understand only a brief guideline can be provided here. Your task is to write an interdisciplinary analysis of the interaction and interrelation between historical events and literary movements on the premise that intellectual trends of writers spring from the life events played out around them on the large stage of world politics, movements and change.

With a broadly sweeping brush, the primary historical trends in the Western world were a move to greater democratization in Europe and England with universal male suffrage and limited female suffrage as key issues, while in the US segregation and free public education accompanied Progressive agitation for greater power for the working person.

Again in a broad sweep, the literary movements of Realism and Frontier Realism rejected the romanticized subjectivity of the proceeding period and emphasized verisimilitude--actuality--in literary representation, selecting working and lower class characters, situations and locations. Frontier realism applied this to life on the American frontier while using realism's direct style to depict frontier violence and dramatic unrest. Naturalism went further and delved into the hereditary and social causes behind characters' personal and social situations, again, showing lower class characters. Naturalism worked out in literature the prejudicial theories of Social Darwinism.

Your essay structure will follow normal analytical essay form and will point out what you see as key connectors between history and literary movements. Some key connectors between history and literary movements might be working and lower class people, Social Darwinism and segregation, and demands for the privilege and rights of the upper class by the lower classes.

Essay structure in an outline sketch:

  • Introduction with Thesis (5-10 percent of essay): tells aim or purpose as well as approach and argument (US teachers may disagree with short Intro).
  • Background (10-15 percent of essay): brief overview of relevant history and specific literary movements.
  • Research and Evaluation (up to 60 percent of essay): in-depth discussions: present arguments, present counter-argument, discussion of relevant history, examples of corresponding literary movements; evaluate research.
  • Analysis (20-30 percent of essay): [original thinking: most important part] analyze the relationship between the history and the literary movements; establish your case for your argument.
  • Conclusion (5-10 percent of essay): reiterate what you have proven; mention weaknesses, if any, with research; offer practical value of or further needed research in your subject matter.

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