August Strindberg was born on the 22nd of January, 1849. He described his childhood with emotional insecurity, poverty and religious fanaticism and neglect. He was sent to a boarding school early in his life. His mother was very religious and she died when he was 13. He later described how he wanted a maternal figure in his life. His father ended up marrying his governess. He would later say that because of this, they had become his enemy. He turned towards the religion of his mother for awhile, but what he had seen in life made him turn away from it. His experiences in life turned him towards naturalism and away from the realist traits that were so popular at the time. He believed that the idea or belief that only laws of nature and not the laws of supernatural or spiritual forces were at work in the world. This is what turned August Strindberg away from the realist movement of the earliest 20th century. The formal characteristics of the play The Ghost Sonata, are that the world is hell. That family life is a sort of hell as well. August Strindberg stated about the play "Family the home of all social evil". He took his own childhood experiences and put them in the play. The play is really a look at the heart of a troubled childhood and how the effects can last a lifetime.