Last Updated 26 Mar 2020

Realism vs. Romanticism

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Realism and romanticism have been writing styles that have been going on for centuries. Realism sprouted from romanticism around the late 1800s when people grew tired relating to the romanticisms “fairy tale” nature.

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. Edna and Hester represent each of these. Hester represents romanticism while Edna represents realism. Both of the characters are women in later times that go through the hardships close to their era. The Scarlet Letter is a romanticism novel written by Nathaniel Hawthorne. Hester is a young lady in the seventeenth century that is constantly surrounded by her sin of adultery. Throughout the novel, Hester becomes more of her own person as she cares for her daughter Pearl on the edge of the woods. The format of the novel is written in a romanticists way; formal and fitting for the setting. The writer also expresses splashes of color in the story to retain a positive outlook or effect as the novel goes on. Symbols in the novel are naturalistic, such as roses; the symbol of hope for change. Pearl is also a symbol; a symbol of transgression and Hester’s reason for living. The setting of the novel is slightly depressing, but grows into this mystical-like town as the novel goes on. Hester redeems herself for her sin, the letter “A” in her bosom’s meaning turns into “Able”. The story reveals more secret, though each one brings Hester closer and closer to closure on her sin. There is an antagonist as there usually always is for romanticism novel, though it is usually never the actual main character that is the true antagonist. Chillingworth bogs down on Dimmesdale, mentally tearing Dimmesdale apart to find out the father until helped by Hester. The Awakening is written by Kate Chopin. In the novel Edna is realistically trapped in her own world of self doubt and sense of unknowing. The novel is written in a modern setting, though the setting is much different. The explanation of the islands makes them seem bland and unlikeable. There is expressed color in the novel, but seems dulled out by the unhappiness of the ladies that inhabit the islands. There are many symbols, most of them consisting of the ocean; which represents freedom. Another, the parrot; is said to represent Edna; trapped. Edna is represented going through many ordinary circumstances of her time, being stressed with the concern to be the perfect house wife. Her life spirals downwards as she loses herself and eventually leaves her children in care of her mother. She is given time after time to redeem herself but only degrades herself by giving in to her own selfish human characteristics. Edna herself is the antagonist as she fights with her spiritual and physiological being for a better life, but eventually looses. Edna eventually gives up and swims as far out into the ocean, drowning herself; Thus, ending the novel. Both realism and romanticism reflect on life lessons and inspire many readers. This American literature is sure to be passed down from generation to look back and reflect on the possibilities in life

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