What are the characteristics of Naturalism in Crane, Jewett,and Wharton writings.  

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literaturenerd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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Regardless of the author, to be considered a Naturalistic writer one must adhere to the characteristics aligned with the period. Therefore, to be considered a Naturalistic author, writers needed to include specific theologies and ideologies in their works.

Influenced by Herbert Spenser and Charles Darwin, Naturalists looked at their writings as a scientific experimentation through which they simply recorded their observations. Many of the works, including those of Crane, Jewett, and Wharton, included the following themes: survival, determinism, and violence. Without these ever-present themes the works could not be truly considered Naturalistic.

Nature was considered all powerful. Mankind was left to fight the typically personified Nature. Artificial and natural objects were given human or, more typicaly, animalistic qualities to which man was required to fight against.

Therefore, to be considered a Naturalist, authors had to include the following in their texts:

1.  The text is written from an objective point-of-view. This means that the author writes from a scientific perspective similar to that of an experiment. The author states that they are simply describing the action of what is happening- they do not attempt to change or influence the character or the action of the text in any way.

2. The characters described are typically deterministic. The protagonist simply sees a problem with the circumstances that they have found theme selves in, or other characters in, and wishes to change them.

3. Given the text is written from an objective point-of-view, the text is also pessimistic and emotionally cold. The author is, again, only describing what they are "seeing" from a observers point-of-view. They wish to have no compassion for the characters because it would force them to interfere with the action of the story.

4. The setting is one you would find in everyday life. There are no spectacular scenes in regards to elaborate castles or upper-class niceties. The settings are typically set in lower-class homes and workplaces.

5. The characters described are typical, like the settings. Walking around a mine would allow one simply pick any worker and place them into a Naturalistic text.

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