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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
Test your knowledge with a 30-question chapter practice test
The Literary Realism Movement: A Response to Romanticism

1. The Literary Realism Movement: A Response to Romanticism

Literary Realism was a style and type of writing from 1865 to 1910 that emerged as a response to (and rejection of) Romanticism. Learn more about: the changes in the U.S. that led to the growth of Realism; important authors of the time including Mark Twain, Rebecca Harding Davis, and Henry James; and an aspect of Realism known as Regionalism.

Uncle Tom's Cabin and the American Civil War

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

Harriet Beecher Stowe wrote Uncle Tom's Cabin which helped inspire the anti-slavery movement that ultimately led to the American Civil War. Explore anti-slavery literature, Harriet Beecher Stowe's life, and the characters, context, plot, and importance of Uncle Tom's Cabin.

Frederick Douglass: Narrative and Style

3. Frederick Douglass: Narrative and Style

After escaping slavery, Frederick Douglass became a prominent abolitionist, writer and social reformer. Explore the life of Frederick Douglass, his abolitionist work, and the significance of his autobiography, 'A 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

American author and humorist, Mark Twain, is widely regarded as one of the greatest American novelists. Discover Twain's life, his use of literary Regionalism, and some of his most significant works, 'The Adventures of Tom Sawyer,' and the 'Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.'

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn: Plot Summary and Characters

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

'The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn' is a story of two friends working against societal racism. Explore the novel's characters and plot, as Huck and Jim leave St. Petersburg, travel the Mississippi, and form a lasting friendship along the way.

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn: Themes and Analysis

6. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn: Themes and Analysis

Mark Twain's most acclaimed work is The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. Explore an analysis of his work including themes, plot, characters, controversy, story context, symbolism, and how this novel influenced American literature.

Twain's Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County

7. Twain's Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County

'The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County' is known as Mark Twain's first short story to garner widespread recognition. Learn the plot of the short story and the literary elements and techniques used that are characteristic in Mark Twain's works.

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

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

Mark Twain's short story The Million Pound Bank Note is a socioeconomic commentary published in 1893, toward the end of the famed humorist's career. Explore the characters and plot of the short story in this summary and analysis of The Million Pound Bank Note.

Willa Cather's My Antonia: Summary and Analysis

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

Willa Cather was a Pulitzer Prize winning novelist, who is best known for her depictions of the pioneer experience. Discover the synopsis, characters and significance of Cather's most well-known literary work, 'My √Āntonia.'

Kate Chopin: Biography, Works, and Style

10. Kate Chopin: Biography, Works, and Style

Kate Chopin was a Southern regionalist writer. Explore her biography, works, and style, and learn about the plot of her notable works and how her writing was significant in terms of Southern and feminist literature.

Kate Chopin's The Awakening: Summary and Analysis

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

'The Awakening' was criticized tremendously because of its unusual theme of a rebellious woman whose desires and actions in contrary to society's expectations of a woman. Discover the controversy around the novel's publication, its summary and analysis, and the influence of 'The Awakening' on feminist literature.

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

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

Kate Chopin's Story of an Hour tells the story of a woman who discovers another shocking twist in her life after processing the news of her husband's death. Discover the story of this woman and what realizations Chopin's story gives to its readers.

The Yellow Wallpaper by Charlotte Perkins Gilman: Summary & Analysis

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

Charlotte Perkins Gilman wrote a story called 'The Yellow Wallpaper'. Explore a summary and analysis of her work and learn about her relation to the story, how the story acts as a social commentary, and what makes it feminist literature.

The American in Europe: Henry James' Daisy Miller

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

Henry James is one of the most prominent writers of the Realism Movement, which was 19th century art and literary movement that focused on realistic and relatable subject matter. Explore the life of Henry James, and the significance of his novella, 'Daisy Miller.'

Edith Wharton: Biography and Major Novels

15. Edith Wharton: Biography and Major Novels

Edith Wharton is a famous writer who published more than 40 books in her lifetime, including The House of Mirth and Age of Innocence. Learn more about Wharton's life, literary successes, and other passions.

Naturalism in Literature: Authors and Characteristics

16. Naturalism in Literature: Authors and Characteristics

Naturalism, the literary movement depicting a realistic worldview, where nature is often indifferent or apathetic towards humanity. Explore the major works of naturalism, elements in their writing, and the authors and characteristics of naturalism.

Chapter Practice Exam
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Practice Final Exam
Test your knowledge of the entire course with a 50 question practice final exam.
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