American literature continues to evolve, with writers applying many literal elements. One element that helped develop American literature is the element of realism. According to Tadjibayev et al., realism is a literal element or writing style that allows writers to portray life as it really is in their works (145). The element of realism was greatly applied between 1865 and 1910, following the rejection of romanticism. Consistently, authors or writers opted to use features such as focusing on people’s everyday lives, social classes, and events as portrayed by works of realist authors such as Booker T. Washington and W.E.B DuBois.
The discrepancies between the works of Booker T. Washington and W.E.B DuBois are evident in their writing. Their interpretation of everyday life may have varied based on their lives, represented in 1901 when Washington published Up From Slavery and in 1903 when DuBois published The Souls of Black Folks, both showcasing their use of literal realism (Johnson and Watson 65).
The first literal realism element is used in people’s everyday life. Washington used this element in his book to portray his life, including his enslavement and that of other African Americans, pointing out how other African Americans would gain value in their society. In contrast, DuBois used this element to portray the need for human rights for African Americans in times when racism was a great social problem. The other aspect of literal realism portrayed is social class; Washington illustrated that African Americans were part of the low class, and with education and other aspects through labor, they would receive a higher class. In contrast, DuBois portrayed that African Americans were indeed part of the lower class, but their class would be raised with human rights overlooking race. Thirdly, the element of realism involving slavery and the Civil War are events concerning African Americans that both authors apply.
In conclusion, literally, realism is a literary style that authors greatly employed in the 19th century. This style influenced literally works by portraying people’s daily lives as they really are by using characters such as the people, events, and daily struggles, as in the works by Washington and Dubois. Further, differing points of view on society greatly affected this literary style as people perceive occurrences differently.
Johnson, Keith V., and Elwood Watson. “The W. E. B. Dubois And Booker T. Washington Debate: Effects Upon African American Roles In Engineering And Engineering Technology.” The Journal Of Technology Studies, vol 30, no. 4, 2004. Virginia Tech Libraries, p65-70 https://doi.org/10.21061/jots.v30i4.a.10.
Tadjibayev, Musajon, et al. “THE DEVELOPMENT OF REALISM IN AMERICAN LITERATURE.” European Journal of Research and Reflection in Educational Sciences, 8 (10), Part II, 145-150. Idpublications.Org, 2020, https://idpublications.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/10/Full-Paper-THE-DEVELOPMENT-OF-REALISM-IN-AMERICAN-LITERATURE.pdf.
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Washington and DuBois both write non-fiction that relies on elements of Realism and important literary movements of their time.
How do both writers apply elements of realism in their ‘nonfiction texts?
To answer this question, first define Realism from a book or a credible academic source. Then, show elements of realism at work in the writings of both authors.
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