Definition: The term Naturalism describes a type of literature that attempts to apply scientific principles of objectivity and detachment to its study of human beings. It is also a literary genre that started as a literary movement in the late nineteenth century in literature, film theater, and art. It is the study that science can be used to study human reactions. It shows how people react in different environments.
A big theme of this time period was Social Darwinism.
“Sir, I exist!” “However,” replied the universe, “the fact has not created in me a sense of obligation.” --Stephen Crane (1890s)
1.) Stephen Crane is considered to be one of the earliest, and most important, American Naturalists. He was very interested in exploring the relationship between environmental forces and individual character
Cranes novel The Red Badge of Courage is a great example of naturalist fiction.It is a study in the way that environment—in this case the extreme environment of war—shapes and warps character.
There are many characteristics of this movement. For example:Objective, Darwinistic (survival of the fittest), detached method of narration, language, human beings unable to stand up against enormous weight of circumstances, deterministic--natural and socioeconomic forces stronger than man, heredity determines character, violence--force against force, taboo topics, animal imagery, attention to setting to the point of saturation, characters--lower socioeconomic class, Static characters, naturalists observe, then write. Often about the black, darker side of life, "pessimistic materialistic determinism" (Pizer), Characters conditioned or controlled by environment, heredity, instinct or chance but they have a compensating humanistic value that affirms the significance of the individual (Pizer), characters do not have free will (determinism)
The time period was 1880 to 1900.
This is another popular book by Stephen Crane.
This book portrays men on a boat, representing human endurance against indifferent nature where they feel themselves helpless.Whenever a huge wave of water arrives, it shuts everything from the men’s view. and they imagine this particular wave would be the final outbreak of the ocean.
In this book it gives a picture of a perfect naturalistic novel, as its leading role, Edna Pontellier lives in a world where no one understands her. Neither she fits in Creole society, which often causes misunderstandings in her life, and she cannot understand its people
In this book it is man versus nature. It shows hoe humans have to be so careful at every moment, because you could die at any moment, life waits for them to make a mistake and take their lives or kill them
In this book it shows how the family has to change due to the environment. They are living during the Great Depression. Initially, when Joads leave home, they are very simple and animal like people, who could barely understand their difficult situation . They face a constant opposition from two powerful predators such as society and nature.
This is an American artist William Bliss Baker, whose landscape paintings are considered some of the best examples of the naturalist movement.