Naturalism

(1890's -1920's) The pessimistic Branch of Realism

What Is Naturalism?

Naturalism influences authors to write about real people in situations where uncontrollable forces are in charge of individual fate ("Division" 470). The authors show us the relationship between actions and environment (Public.wsu.edu). It suddenly becomes the battle of instincts; no longer the battle of human emotions. This period is filled with dark, pessimistic views and stories based off of scientific ideas.

Events & Impacts


  • War- After the Civil War there was a post-depression which put several families in bad economic situations.
  • Theories-This is the period when Darwinism is first introduced; therefore, aspects of social-Darwinism are incorporated into the literature (Online-literature). It becomes more philosophical than Realism (Public.wsu.edu).
  • Poverty- Influenced author's outlook on life.


The Main Authors

"Nature, fate, and heredity"( "Division" 470). - Themes of Naturalism

Genres and Themes

Fate, struggle, and endurance in nature all play the themes throughout the Naturalism period ("Division" 470-471). Fate is determined not by a god, but by natural causes such as weather, incidents, or death. The character's struggle against the uncontrollable nature leads to internal conflicts. Endurance and instincts are shown through the character's response to the environment and situations.

Stylistic Approaches and Devices


  • Dramatic Irony
  • Naturalism vs. Realism
  • Speaker
  • Attitude
  • Conflict (Internal & External)
  • Scientific method/theories


By Yours Truly

Erin Dickman, Perri Rabbitt, and Lindsey Tart