Naturalism vs. realism
A. Later 19th century writers turned from realism as too subjective to naturalism in their literary approaches.
B. Naturalism (literature), in literature, the theory that literary composition
should be based on an objective, empirical presentation of human beings.
writers regard human behavior as controlled by instinct, emotion, or social and
reject free will, adopting instead the biological determinism of Charles
Darwin and the economic determinism of Karl
American writers of naturalistic fiction are John London, Frank
Dos Passos, and Theodore
is based on the presumption that humans are like animals in the natural world.
1. As a
result, humans respond to environmental forces and internal stresses and drives,
over none of which they have either control or full knowledge.
Freudian terms, it’s literature written to demonstrate how the id dominates
the ego and superego.
differs from realism in what it concludes.
concludes that people’s decisions determine how they respond to a situation.
2. Naturalism concludes that people’s decisions are
predetermined by the scientific or natural forces that predispose people to act
a certain way.
we will get back to it—concludes that there are unknown forces that predispose
people to make the decisions that they do.
distinction may be illustrated in this way.
1. Given a
block of wood and a force pushing upon it, producing in it a certain
will tend to concentrate its attention on the accurate description of that
particular block, that special force, and that definite acceleration to explain
how the specific factors lead to the reaction.
will tend to see in the entire operation an illustration or symbol or suggestion
of a philosophical truth and will so represent the block, the force, and the
acceleration as representatives of that truth.
will tend to see in the operation a clue or a key to the scientific law which
undergirds it and to be interested in the relationship between the force, the
block, and the produced acceleration, and will so represent the operation that
Newton’s first law of motion is demonstrated or proved by this representative
instance of its universal occurrence in nature.