Thursday, February 10, 2011

Realism Project: Regionalism

"Local color or regional literature is fiction and poetry that focuses on the characters, dialect, customs, topography, and other features particular to a specific region" (Campbell). Regionalism is mostly thought of as a combination of American Romanticism and Realism because of its frequent stray from the ordinary to "distant lands, strange customs, or exotic scenes" and retention of the original accuracy of the human being through small, yet unknowingly important details (Campbell). Regionalism also incorporates a lot of "reliving the glory days," which hints at the Romanticism era of literature. Furthermore, there are many small details about the land and area that show signs of Realism (Campbell). The end of the Civil War brought the beginning of this new time period, which was very popular with those removed from old seats of power, including Midwesterners, African Americans, immigrants, and women as opposed to those in seats of power, such as white urban males, who were judged as realists (Campbell). Many critics have also argued that the Regionalism period played a major contributing factor in the reunification of the United States after the end of the Civil War (Campbell). Also, Regionalism created the identity of the new America after the war and at the end of the 1800s (Campbell). Usually, the setting of a Regionalism work involves nature, like Realism and Naturalism, and the difficulties and restrictions of nature; many settings are in totally remote or inaccessible locations that would more than likely not occur in real events (Campbell). Outside narration was also popular in Regionalism works, and the narrator was typically a well-educated observer who learns something by watching the characters' misfortunes from a safe, yet sometimes ironic, distance to avoid wrongful intrusion (Campbell). The narrator often acted as the middleman, working as a sort of interpreter between the "languages" of the rural citizens in the story and the urban audience to whom the story was told (Campbell). It has also been concluded that the stories of Regionalism have plots that go nowhere and are boring in nature because most plots revolve around tales of the community and its normal routines (Campbell).

Works Cited

Campbell, Donna M. "Regionalism and Local Color Fiction, 1865-1895." Literary Movements. Dept. of English, Washington State University. 20 Jan. 2011. Web. 10 Feb. 2011.

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