Romantic Traits in the 19th century Realistic Novel Great changes were brought into the world during the 19th century. Britain was transformed by the industrial revolution.
In 1801, only about 20% of the population lived in towns, by 1851 the figure had risen to over 50% and by 1881 already about two thirds of the population lived in towns. By the late 19th century factories were common and most goods were made by machine; it was the time of inventions and discoveries. In addition to the industrial revolution, flourished ‘intellectual revolution’ introducing changes in thinking, brought about by changes in society.The educational system was improved and grew better; the organization of the working class gave the possibility to be elected in Parliament. Democracy started to take place, and due to the political and cultural background also the view of life started to change. The age of realism initially started in France, as realisme, in English literature entering first in 1830s with the period of Early Victorian fiction and continuing till the end of the 19th century. The literature of that time gives reader an insight into the very situation of that time.
Gradually increased the popularity of books and literature’s greatness was both quantitative, andaqualitative. Realism is widely defined as “the faithful representation of reality”, attempting to focus on truthful representation of everyday life, in the first place, among the ordinary people – middle or lower class society, without romantic idealization or dramatization. Realism is based on showing life as it is – unvarnished, in contradistinction to romanticism that prospered before the age of realism, treating life in a romantic manner and displaying emotions, feelings and personal experience.On the whole, realism avoids romantic and fantastic elements, exaggerations, thereby providing the reader with descriptions of life’s verisimilitude, psychological approach and characters. The main characters of the realism literature are not supernatural heroes, but ordinary people of the lower or middle class, who struggle through their lives, full of everyday problems and difficulties. Events are made to seem the inevitable result of characters’ choices. Generally speaking, realism can be regarded as a challenging romanticism, for it images life in an absolutely different way than it was showed by the romanticists.
A literary work that can be regarded as the best one to mirror life in a most realistic way is a novel. Realistic novel was created as a new type of the literature that developedaduringatheaVictorianaera. Even though the realistic novels are considered to be absolutely different from the romantic ones, some romantic traits can still be found in them. First and foremost, the trait of love and passion that is so very characteristic to the romantic literature likewise can be found in realistic novels.Feelings of love, often being very strong and even fatal, are experienced by various characters. One example is, Emily Bronte’s gothic novel ‘Wuthering Heights’, that could be described as fully dedicated to passions and unrequited love. The novel has been described as ‘one of the most passionate and heartfelt novels ever written’, telling about love between two persons of different social status, that has sprung up already in the childhood.
Despite the love being strong and continuing through all these years until they were grownups, they are not destinated to stay together.Yet, their love is fulfilled in the next generation by their children and they symbolically remain together forever as in the end of the novel their remainsaareaburiedatogether. Another example of love as a romantic trait can be found in Charles Dickens’s novel ‘Great Expectations’. It is a very enlightening and significant novel also these days, telling about the main character’s Pip’s efforts to obtain the love of his beloved Estella. Pip’s sufferings, earnings and expectations, as well as his greatfulness, are richly depicted through author’s language revealing the main character’s inner world to the reader: […] suffering has been stronger than all other teaching, and has taught me to understand what your heart used to be. I have been bent and broken, but – I hope – into aabetterashape. ’ Other romantic trait that is worth to mention is the establishment of a romantic hero in Emily Bronte’s “Wuthering Heights”.
The romantic hero is called Heathcliff. He is of gipsy origin, being quite different from other people with whom he lives together. Generally it can be said that his nature nd appearance are the main reasons why he is not accepted by the most part of the society. Neighbouring people often consider him to be vainglorious, indecent, rude and even cruel. Yet, he bears in him his inner problems the same way as all the other people and is not able to conceal his love for Catherine: ‘He seemed a sullen, patient child; hardened, perhaps, to ill-treatment: he would stand Hindley’s blows without winking or shedding a tear, and my pinches moved him only to draw in a breath and open his eyes, as if he had hurt himself by accident, and nobody was to blame. ; “Shake hands, Heathcliff,” said Mr.
Earnshaw, condescendingly; ‘’once in way, that is permitted. ” “I shall not,” replied the boy, finding his tongue at last. “I shall not stand to be laughed at. I shall not bear it! ” And he would have broken from the circle, but Miss Cathy seized him again. “I did not mean to laugh at you,” she said; “I could not hinder myself: Heathcliff, shake hands at last! What are you sulky for? It was only that you looked odd.If you wash your face and brush your hair, it will be alright: but you are so dirty! ” She gazed concernedly at the dusky fingers she held in her own, and also at her dress; which she feared had gained no embellishment from its contact with his. “You needn’t have touched me! ” he answered, following her eye and snatching away his hand.
“I shall be as dirty as please: and I like to be dirty and will be dirty. ’ Another feature present in ‘Wuthering Heights’ that could be considered as connected with romanticism, is main hero’s name – Heathcliff.His name has a mixed meaning, consisting of two greatly contrasting words: heath and cliff, revealing and symbolizing the two natures of the main character, one being full of love, the other, full of hate. There are also several romantic traits present in realistic novels in a way of symbolic meanings. For example, Charles Dickens in his work ‘David Copperfield’, that is an autobiographical novel, uses his own initials in inverted manner in the name of David Copperfield. Further, different symbols are also used by Thomas Hardy in his “Jude the Obscure”.The scene worth mentioning is where Jude and Arabella have come to a pub and are sitting under the picture of Samson and Delilah.
This could be interpreted as a symbol of the history that is repeating in a quite ironical way. Another example of the same novel, is the scene where pigs are being slaughtered, carrying their symbolical meaning as the victims of sacrifices that are given to God. Likewise, such symbolical meanings can be found in Emily Bronte’s ‘Wuthering Heights’. The way she uses colours, reveals the symbolical meaning of them.Colour black is used in connection with the colonial thinking, giving a scent of something strange and unknown. Likewise, other colours are being used, for example, relating to fire and coal in order to symbolize love and passion. Another highly significant theme in the literature of romanticism can be considered the one about dreams and fantasies.
Also this romantic trait can be found in the literature of realism. Emily Bronte peculiarly singles out the meaning of dreams in her novel ‘Wuthering Heights’,acreatingaanaenigmaticapicture: I began to dream, almost before I ceased to be sensible of my locality. I thought it was morning; and I had set out on my way home, with Joseph for a guide. (.. ) The intense horror of a nightmare came over me: I tried to draw back my arm, but the handaclungatoait[…]. ’ Another example, can be found in Charles Dickens’ ‘Oliver Twist’, representing the fantasy’s side of romantic traits: ‘The boy stirred, and smiled in his sleep, as though these marks of pity and compassion had awakened some pleasant dream of a love and affection he had never known.
Thus, a strain of gentle music, or the rippling of water in a silent place, or the odour of a flower, or the mention of a familiar word, will sometimes call up sudden dim remembrances of scenes that never were, in this life; which vanish like a breath; which some brief memory of a happier existence, long gone by, would seem to have awakened; which no voluntary exertion of the mind can ever recall. ’ Another issue worth mentioning is the usage of Gothic elements in the literature of realism. For example, in Dickens’ ‘Dombey and Son’: Night, like a giant, fills the church, from pavement to roof, and holds dominion through the silent hours. Pale dawn again comes peeping through the windows: and, giving place to day, sees night withdraw into the vaults, and follows it, and drives it out, and hides among the dead. ’ The gothic elements are also used by Emily Bronte. In her ‘Wuthering Heights’ she provides the reader with visions, dark places, ghosts and horror, presenting them through the dreams of the characters: ‘As it spoke, I discerned, obscurely, a child’s face looking through the window.Terror made me cruel, and, finding it useless to attempt shaking the creature off, I pulled its wrist on to the broken pane, and rubbed it to and fro, till the blood ran down and soaked the bedclothes: still it wailed, “Let me in! ” and maintained its tenacious gripe, almost maddening me with fear.
’ Similarly with the romantic literature, an issue regarding nature is very important also in the literature of realism, in a way of imparting a symbolical meaning. In Charles Dickens’ novel ‘Martin Chuzzlewit’ affection of the storms can be experienced: It was one of those hot, silent nights, when people sit at windows listening for the thunder which they know will shortly break; when they recall dismal tales of hurricanes and earthquakes; and of lonely travellers on open plains, and lonely ships at sea, struck by lightning. ’ And also in the Emily Bronte’s ‘Wuthering Heights’ many symbols are provided though description of wild nature and weather conditions: ‘Yesterday afternoon set in misty and cold. (.. ) On that bleak hill-top the earth was hard with a black frost, and the air made me shiver through every limb. ’After going through and analysing all the mentioned traits of romanticism that are present also in the literature of realism, it could be presumed that the two close standing periods of literature are quite similar to each other, without having many differences between them.
Yet, in the literature of realism, it can be observed that the man, his role in the society, his problems and his inner world, are put on the first place. Thereby, it is still possible to differentiate between the two close standing periods of literature, as in general the both periods of literature view the man and life in a slightly different manner.Bibliography 1. Dickens, Ch. Great Expectations. London: Penguin Books, 1994 2. England in the 19th century [online] available from http://www.
localhistories. org/19thcentengland. html [accessed May 19, 2010] 3. 19th Century [online] available from http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/19th_century [accessed May 19, 2010] 4. Life in the 19th Century [online] available from http://www.
localhistories. org/19thcent. html [accessed May 19, 2010] 5. Realism(arts) [online] available from http://en. wikipedia. org/wiki/Realism_(arts)#Literature [accessed May 19, 2010] 6. Realism [online] available from http://www.
infoplease. om/ce6/ent/A0841275. html [accessed May 19, 2010] 7. Dombey and Son by Charles Dickens [online] available from http://www. online-literature. com/dickens/dombey/ [accessed May 20, 2010] 8. Martin Chuzzlewit by Charles Dickens [online] available from http://www.
online-literature. com/dickens/chuzzlewit/ [accessed May 20, 2010] 9. Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens [online] available from http://www. gutenberg. org/catalog/world/readfile? fk_files=916556;pageno=3 [accessed May 20, 2010] 10. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte [online] available from http://www. online-literature.
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