Crane‘s novel The Red Badge of Courage conforms with the ideas of the naturalist fiction that human beings are ruled by primitive motives instead of reason. The novel is set during the periods of Civil War with the main character being “the young soldier “. Throughout the novel the naturalist fictions of ignorance, pain and fear are highlighted as to be hindrance of seeing the whole big picture and essence of the combat. It lacked the real feeling of warfare (Levenson, 56). Crane describes warfare from the point of psyche and bringing out the natural illusion that human beings were not supposed to do atrocities to each other and that warfare is only a “psychological portrait of fear.” Crane despised the myths that had been “naturally” created to look like realities of armed combat.
Edith Wharton also conforms to the ideas of naturalist fiction and most of her works portrays the literary naturalism of the unforgiving nature of life and often states there are no clear or apparent reasons for some natural happenings in life (Wharton and Pamela, 8). The unfortunate endings can only be attached to miscalculation or even to no apparent cause at all and she can only afford to be sympathetic as the creatures cannot escape the literary naturalism of determinism “a world devoid of free will.” In Ethan Frome, Wharton quotes that, “poverty is a roadblock to even the slimmest chance of fulfillment.” The characters are not even allowed to end their naturalist suffering and the fateful accident is an addition to the tragedies of their existence.
- Levenson, Crone. “The Red Badge of Courage and McTeague: Passage to Modernity.” The Cambridge Companion to American Realism and Naturalism (1995): 54-77.
- Wharton, Edith, and Pamela Knights. Ethan Frome. Wordsworth editions, (1999): p 1-43.