What are the elements in The Beach of Falesá by Stevenson that deviate from literary realism, and what might it tell us about the hybrid nature of this work?

Although Stevenson does not always deviate greatly from realism, The Beach at Falesá is primarily a romantic adventure story, as established by the South Pacific setting and Wiltshire’s naïve expectations of success at business and love. The gothic elements pertain to Case’s evil character and magical skills. However, it is ultimately revealed that he is a con man who manipulates others for his own benefit, and his all-too-human greed motivates his rivalry with Wiltshire.

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Robert Louis Stevenson does not stray far from realist principles in The Beach at Falesá, but the text also demonstrates many elements of the romantic adventure stories for which the author is most well known. Stevenson sets the tale in a remote Pacific location that his British and American readers would mostly like consider exotic. The main character, Wiltshire, is an innocent with a romantic nature in the sense of desiring to escape from the tedium of ordinary, European life by making a living in the islands. In another sense, he is a romantic in terms of his search for love. His naïveté is confirmed as he unwittingly violates local customs and finds himself tricked by Case.

The author incorporates gothic elements as well, as the character of Case seems so evil that he could be diabolically possessed. The exotic aspects of the adventure are combined with the gothic features in emphasizing Case's mysterious powers in the realm of magic, as he can apparently channel supernatural forces.

As the story develops, however, the author veers back to a realist approach, making Case a more mundane villain. He not only prides himself on tricking and manipulating others, but will not stop short of killing off his rivals. As he sets himself against Wiltshire, a basic man versus man conflict thus undergirds the plot.

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