Naturalism Revealed Essay

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Naturalism Revealed Naturalism came as an “offspring” genre from Realism, a popular literary movement that lasted roughly from the pre Civil War era to around the World War I era. There are many examples of naturalistic literature, three prominent ones being The Law of Life and To Build a Fire by Jack London and The Open Boat by Stephen Crane. These literary works exhibit and convey many philosophies and ideas of Naturalism and the Naturalist writers, the most prominent ones being the belief in the insignificance of the human race and the superiority of Nature of humankind. The Open Boat tells the story of four men shipwrecked off the coast of Florida in the middle of a storm. These four men: the Cook, the injured Captain, the Correspondent, and Billie the Oiler survived the sinking of the steamboat Commodore, and were trying to reach land. While the Cook, the Correspondent, and Billie took turns rowing, the injured Captain gave orders and controlled the navigation of the small crew. A prominent ideology of naturalism is the insignificance of man, and this story shows humans’ pettiness in comparison to Nature in multiple ways. The boat the four men were in was the size of a bath tub, and the “waves were most wrongfully and barbarously abrupt and tall, and each froth-top was a problem in small boat navigation” (Crane 1557). The ocean, representing Nature’s power and wrath, was immense and mighty in comparison to the frail and leaky boat the crew was confined to. Unobstructed from the onslaught of waves, the boat seemed meaningless, very dispensable, and disposable in regards to the strong winds and high wave crests of the storm, and through it, Nature itself. Billie, the only character to be named in the story, as well as the character who seemed most fit and probable to survive the ordeal, was in the end the only one to die. However the rest of his

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