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Romanticism Vs. Realism

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Category: English

Autor: anton 18 April 2011

Words: 855 | Pages: 4

The main ideas of the period of Romanticism were largely based on self expression, free will and the ability to act on that will, spontaneity, individualism and the prospect to shape your own life. The thoughts of the realists pertained to more concrete aspects of the here and now and emphasize that the things that matter are unavoidable truths. In the Narrative of the Life of Fredrick Douglass, his ideas of human potential and self exploration towards becoming part of the proclaimed freedoms and opportunities of America precisely sum up the ideas of the Romantic period. These ideas not only closely relate to the slaves of the time that were going through the same injustices of Douglas, but many lower class divisions of society in all of the world. The works of the realist authors focus more on common people, especially ones with flaws and imperfections. There is more of concern with social problems and the idea of being materialistic in the works of realists. In Ibsen’s Hedda Gabler, Hedda was extremely wealthy and forced to wed below her class making her very bored and her happy with her situation. In this society there was nothing that she could do about this situation. Women, much like slaves were treated unfairly in society, so like Douglas, Hedda was part of some thing that she wanted out of. The difference between her and Douglas is that she couldn’t really do anything about her situation.

In The Death of Ivan Ilyich, Tolstoy focuses on the pity of Ivan. He shows that Ivan is materialistic, trying to live above his means by buying things that he really can’t afford. He also shows that Ivan is sad. He cries about his loneliness and cries about the absence of God in his life. The story shows that Ivan has removed himself from emotion. The author shows the complexities of Ivan’s life, just the same as Ibson did with Hedda. The aspects of complexity, imperfections and common people in general are all major parts in the ideas of the realist authors and that particular time period. These ideas are very different from the ideas of Romantic author. The stories of the Romantic authors tend to have characters that are heroic and extraordinary, very much like Douglas. He displayed acts of heroicism and acts of courage. It seems like Hedda and Ivan wallowed in their own despair, not even making the best of there situations, but instead feeling sorry for themselves without displaying the aspect of free will that the Romanic writer emphasized in their characters.

In the story, the lady with the Dog, Dmitri has some of the same feelings that Hedda had. He began to feel like he had been talked into marriage at an early age, and complains that his wife looks twice as old as he does. He gets feelings of boredom and is deceptive. Dmitri is very opposite Douglas, but the fact that he is a bit of a ladies man, makes him more of an opportunist than the characters in the other two stories. Dmitri, like Hedda and Ivan seems to pity himself and it is not until the end of the story that he tries to look toward the future.

All of the characters display some similarities but the differences in Douglas and the other three are far more drastic. He goes on to gain his freedom, which happened to have been purchased by two British ladies, but the other characters didn’t show his heroic enthusiasm. Douglas did not drown himself in his self pity like they all did, and he came of the bad situation that he was in much better than all the rest of them. The comparison of the Narrative of the Life of Fredrick Douglas to the three stories of the realists authors presents a great understanding of the difference in ideas between the Romantic versus the Realist author. The use of The Narrative of the Life of Fredrick Douglas to represent the Romantic period is interesting due to the fact that lots of the writings during that period were about supernatural things and different realms and worlds. This is partly due to the industrial revolution. People wanted to involve themselves in the natural world rather than what was happening in industry. Romantic artists constantly strived for unique and different ideas, whereas the thinkers of the Enlightenment valued uniformity. Realism, in contrast to Romanticism, showed an objective, unemotional view of the world. The realist were similar to naturalist due to the fact that they were interested in logic and sometimes more scientific aspects of the world, however the writings of the realists focused more on the life of real or common people and the struggles that they could not surpass. The main difference between Douglass and the three Realist stories is that Douglass did in fact surpass these struggles and go on to become something extraordind many of the characters in the writings of the Romantic

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