Naturalism

by Nick Wagner, Sarah Allchin, and Breena Gwaltney

Key Terms

Naturalism: An outgrowth of Realism, except it opposes nature and is viewed in an objectual scientifical manner. (Page 470)

Realism: The depiction of things as they appear in real life, factual. (Page 470)

Conflict: A struggle between two opposing forces. Internal conflict, a struggle within a character, and external conflict, conflict between a character and an outside force. (Page 607)

Dramatic irony: A contradiction between what a character thinks and what the reader knows to be true. (Page 607)

Speaker: The voice of the poem. The speaker is most often the poet but it can also be a fictional character or non-human entity. (Page 665)

Attitude: Details that suggest how the speaker feels about the subject. (Page 671)

Important Naturalism authors

Jack London (January 12, 1876 – November 22, 1916)

Edwin Arlington Robinson (December 22, 1869 – April 6, 1935)

Predominant Themes and Genres of this Period

  • Frontier (Page 470)
  • Survival fate (Studyguide.org)
  • Nature is an indifferent force acting on humans. (Studyguide.org)
  • "Brute within" (Studyguide.org)


Stylistic Qualities of the Period

The reality that these types of authors write about seemed always to be a harsh one. Hardship influenced their artistic vision. (Page 471)


The characters were mainly lower class or lower middle class. Many of these stories in this period had tragic endings. (Studyguide.org - Naturalism)


Important Historical Events

  • The Civil War (Page 470) Idealism is shattered after the Civil War and writers turn from Romanticism to Realism.
  • The Closing of the Frontier (Page 470)
  • Industrialization (Page 470)
  • Charles Darwin and Social Darwinism ( The Literature Network)