Ch 7: Realism in Literature

About This Chapter

Watch online video lessons on realism in literature to learn more about authors including Mark Twain, Willa Cather and Kate Chopin. Each lesson is accompanied by a short multiple-choice quiz you can use to check your understanding of these authors' works.

Realism in Literature

The literary period of realism followed the Romantic period. Our lessons will explain the characteristics of the realism period while also comparing and contrasting it to its Romantic precedent. You'll see how things changed and get a glimpse as to why these changes occurred. In addition, we have lessons that cover different literary figures from the realism period and provide discussions of important works from this movement in literature. We also have a lesson that touches on Naturalism and explains its role in the realism movement.

You'll get to study Harriet Beecher Stowe, Frederick Douglass and Willa Cather. Take a look at Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin. Discover the major impact of this book and how it played a role in starting the Civil War. Look at the styles of Douglass and Cather to get a good idea what made writers of realism stand out and the characteristics that really defined them. Some other figures discussed in our lessons include Charlotte Perkins Gilman and Henry James.

We have a couple lessons that cover Kate Chopin. You'll get to learn more about her life and her writing style. See what role she played as a realist writer. Also get the chance to study The Awakening in-depth with discussions about the characters and characterization. Another lesson will cover 'Story of an Hour,' with a focus on its theme of escape.

No course in the realism period would be complete without some lessons on one of America's greatest writers - Mark Twain. Our lessons on Twain will cover his biography, provide some analysis of his work and explain his identity as a realist writer. You'll get a chance to really take a look at Huckleberry Finn, including quotes and dialect. We also have a lesson that discusses 'The Notorious Jumping Frog of Calaveras County' and 'Million Pound Bank Note.' This lesson will compare the two stories and point out the differences in the story types.

16 Lessons in Chapter 7: Realism in Literature
The Literary Realism Movement: A Response to Romanticism

1. The Literary Realism Movement: A Response to Romanticism

In this lesson, we will learn about Realism in American literature, how this new literary movement grew out of Romanticism and what circumstances in our changing nation made that literary shift possible.

Uncle Tom's Cabin and the American Civil War

2. Uncle Tom's Cabin and the American Civil War

In this lesson, we will explore the context, characters and plot of one of the country's most influential novels, Harriet Beecher Stowe's 'Uncle Tom's Cabin.' Then, find out how it inched America closer to the Civil War.

Frederick Douglass: Narrative and Style

3. Frederick Douglass: Narrative and Style

In this lesson, we will learn about Frederick Douglass, an escaped slave who became one of the most powerful voices in the abolitionist movement in the United States. In addition, we will examine his written work, most notably his first autobiography - ''Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave.''

Mark Twain: Biography, Works, and Style as a Regionalist Writer

4. Mark Twain: Biography, Works, and Style as a Regionalist Writer

In this lesson, we will learn about Mark Twain's life, his most acclaimed writings and his place as a realist and regionalist writer in this country's literary history.

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn: Plot Summary and Characters

5. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn: Plot Summary and Characters

In this lesson, we will learn about Mark Twain's most acclaimed work, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, through a close examination of characters and plot.

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn: Themes and Analysis

6. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn: Themes and Analysis

In this lesson, we will continue our exploration of Mark Twain's most acclaimed work, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, through an analysis of plot, characters, and theme.

Twain's Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County

7. Twain's Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County

In this lesson, we will explore the characters and discuss the plotline of one of Twain's most popular short stories, 'The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County.'

Mark Twain's The Million Pound Bank Note: Summary and Analysis

8. Mark Twain's The Million Pound Bank Note: Summary and Analysis

In this lesson we will examine the plot and characters of one of Twain's most imitated stories, 'The Million Pound Bank Note.' Find out how this story challenged socioeconomic beliefs and remains an interesting story even today.

Willa Cather's My Antonia: Summary and Analysis

9. Willa Cather's My Antonia: Summary and Analysis

In this lesson, we will examine Willa Cather's most recognizable literary work, 'My Antonia'. We will take a look at the plot of this story while considering the ways in which this modernist novel uses language and setting to reflect character relationships and emotion.

Kate Chopin: Biography, Works, and Style

10. Kate Chopin: Biography, Works, and Style

In this lesson, we will learn about Kate Chopin, a Southern regionalist writer. First, we will consider how her life created a framework for stories that reflect early feminist values in a very traditional world, then we will look at her two most famous works, 'The Story of an Hour' and 'The Awakening.'

Kate Chopin's The Awakening: Summary and Analysis

11. Kate Chopin's The Awakening: Summary and Analysis

In this lesson, we will examine the acclaimed feminist novel 'The Awakening' by regionalist writer Kate Chopin. We will take a look at the protagonist, who wishes for freedom from her role as traditional wife and mother, while considering the 19th century world in which the novel was written.

Kate Chopin's 'Story of an Hour': Summary and Analysis

12. Kate Chopin's 'Story of an Hour': Summary and Analysis

In this lesson, we will examine the plot and characters of Kate Chopin's most widely read short story, 'The Story of an Hour.' We will consider the ways in which the author's topics of marriage and independence reflect her feminist sensibilities and make this an early work of feminist literature.

Charlotte Perkins Gilman's The Yellow Wallpaper: Summary & Analysis

13. Charlotte Perkins Gilman's The Yellow Wallpaper: Summary & Analysis

In this lesson, we will examine the famous short story The Yellow Wallpaper. We will consider the ways in which Charlotte Perkins Gilman uses the story to communicate about her own difficult experiences post-birth. Additionally, we will discuss her use of fiction as a vehicle to reveal what she felt was the less-than-equal existence of women during the 19th century.

The American in Europe: Henry James' Daisy Miller

14. The American in Europe: Henry James' Daisy Miller

In this lesson, we will examine the literary theme of the American abroad in the work of expatriate writer Henry James. Specifically, we will examine James's depiction of character relationships, behavior and social context within his novella Daisy Miller.

Edith Wharton: Biography and Major Novels

15. Edith Wharton: Biography and Major Novels

Who was Edith Wharton? Only the author of over 40 books and the first woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for fiction. In this lesson, we'll explore her life and major novels.

Naturalism in Literature: Authors and Characteristics

16. Naturalism in Literature: Authors and Characteristics

Nature is indifferent; humans are just animals. So it goes in naturalism. In this lesson, we'll explore this literary movement. Authors discussed include Stephen Crane, Jack London and Theodore Dreiser.

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