Home > Free Essays > Literature > Comparative Literature > Naturalism and Realism of Mark Twain and Jack London

Naturalism and Realism of Mark Twain and Jack London Essay

Exclusively available on IvyPanda Available only on IvyPanda
Updated: Dec 7th, 2021

Literature is one of the art forms invented by the humanity to reflect the phenomena of the objective reality. Drawing from this, all the ideas people have about their lives can be found in the literature. This paper will focus on two literary movements depicting the true-to-life stories of ordinary people without resorting to any symbolic pictures, etc.; these movements are realism and naturalism. Mark Twain’s “Huck Finn” will be considered as a realist piece of literature, while Jack London’s “The Law of Life” will be examined as an example of naturalism.

To begin with, realism can be defined as a literary technique directed at faithful and actual describing of the real-life events and processes in the lives of ordinary people. In the middle of the 19th century, realism was viewed as a protest against surrealism and romanticism. Naturalism became a continuation of realism by addressing the specific stories of specific people instead of generalizing reality.Accordingly, one of the features of this realism was the irony of the existing society and an attempt to change the established way of living where some people were higher in their social status than others. Naturalism, on the other hand, shows the good sides of the society it wants to change.

Mark Twain in his “Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer among the Indians” demonstrates realism showing how two ordinary boys, Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer manifested their protest against the society trying to become closer to the nature that welcomed them: “The marvel of Nature shaking off sleep and going to work unfolded itself to the musing boy” (Twain, 2002, p. 71). One of the ways to break the rules the boys hated was becoming Indians and integrating into the nature: “No, better still, he would join the Indians and hunt buffaloes, and go on the war-path in the mountain ranges and the trackless great plains of the Far West” (Twain, p. 45).

As contrasted to Twain’s work, “The Law of Life” by London is a depiction of positive experiences of ordinary people living in close connection with nature. There is no manifestation of protest in this work, vice versa London shows that understanding the laws of life and nature makes it easier for ordinary people to go their life-path and end it timely: “He did not complain. It was the way of life, and it was just. He had been born close to the earth, close to the earth had he lived, and the law thereof was not new to him” (London, 1994, p. 28). Moreover, London’s work is more philosophical than the one by Twain, as the author thinks over the solutions to social issues rather than treating them with irony: “Nature did not care. To life she set one task, gave one law. To perpetuate was the task of life, its law was death” (London, 1994, p. 29).

To conclude, realism and naturalism are the two literary movements that reflect the same idea of bringing the ordinary people to the spotlight of literature, although by different means. Mark Twain and Jack London are the brightest representatives of these literary movements, and their works prove this fact by displaying the features of realism and naturalism. Although Mark Twain is famous for his realist humor, and Jack London attracts readers’ attention by his naturalist philosophy of life, the joint aim they pursue is explaining to the society the right way according to which it should develop.

Works Cite

London, Jack. The Portable Jack London (Earle Labor, Ed.). Penguin, 1994, pp. 26 – 32.

Twain, Mark. Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer among the Indians And Other Unfinished Stories. University of California Press, 2002.

This essay on Naturalism and Realism of Mark Twain and Jack London was written and submitted by your fellow student. You are free to use it for research and reference purposes in order to write your own paper; however, you must cite it accordingly.
Removal Request
If you are the copyright owner of this paper and no longer wish to have your work published on IvyPanda.
Request the removal

Need a custom Essay sample written from scratch by
professional specifically for you?

801 certified writers online

Cite This paper
Select a referencing style:

Reference

IvyPanda. (2021, December 7). Naturalism and Realism of Mark Twain and Jack London. https://ivypanda.com/essays/naturalism-and-realism-of-mark-twain-and-jack-london/

Reference

IvyPanda. (2021, December 7). Naturalism and Realism of Mark Twain and Jack London. Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/essays/naturalism-and-realism-of-mark-twain-and-jack-london/

Work Cited

"Naturalism and Realism of Mark Twain and Jack London." IvyPanda, 7 Dec. 2021, ivypanda.com/essays/naturalism-and-realism-of-mark-twain-and-jack-london/.

1. IvyPanda. "Naturalism and Realism of Mark Twain and Jack London." December 7, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/naturalism-and-realism-of-mark-twain-and-jack-london/.


Bibliography


IvyPanda. "Naturalism and Realism of Mark Twain and Jack London." December 7, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/naturalism-and-realism-of-mark-twain-and-jack-london/.

References

IvyPanda. 2021. "Naturalism and Realism of Mark Twain and Jack London." December 7, 2021. https://ivypanda.com/essays/naturalism-and-realism-of-mark-twain-and-jack-london/.

References

IvyPanda. (2021) 'Naturalism and Realism of Mark Twain and Jack London'. 7 December.

Powered by CiteTotal, easy citation website
More related papers