Realism, Regionalism, and Naturalism

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Regionalist Fiction Regionalist fiction is a genre of literature that takes a particular focus on characters, the dialect, culture and other features that are unique to one region. It grew in popularity during the 19th Century and was heavily influenced by a combination of down east and southwestern humor. It also contains elements of realism and romanticism because most of the authors chose to focus on things like exotic scenes that and the interplay between man and nature. They also talked of strange lands and distant customs that were not part of their everyday reality. One of the most defining element was sentimentality or nostalgia. The following essay will focus on The Return of a Private and The Notorious Jumping Frog of Calaveras County and explain why the two are considered regionalist fiction. Hamlin Garland’s The Return of a Private is an inspiring story of how one man fought through years of war so that he could go back to his family. He eventually does but the war has drained all his energy, and he feels he has none left for his family. The story has a strong element of regionalism because it focuses on specific characters of Wisconsin, their culture and almost everything that makes the place what it is. Even the hospitality of the people is captured through Mrs. Gray who is poor and widowed but would never turn anyone away CITATION Gar69 l 1033 (Garland, 1969). Mark Twain’s, The Notorious Jumping Frog of Calaveras County, on the other hand, is a humorous tale of a gambler. 19th Century realism was often laced with elements of satire (Campbell, 1997) and Twain’s story pokes fun at the assumption that people make of others based on where they

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