What are the characteristics of naturalism

Features of Naturalism - Simply Explained

In this post we will look at the characteristics of naturalism. It is a movement that exists in both literature and the performing arts of theater. Its main feature is close observation of nature.

History of Naturalism: Origins and Background

Naturalism is considered to be the increase in realism. It was minted between 1880 and 1900.

  • Naturalism is also seen as the age of the bourgeoisie. As a result of industrialization, there were more and more tensions of a social nature in society.
  • The bourgeoisie, which had grown strong and possessed its power, now aspired to the lifestyle of the nobility. Aristocratic values ​​were adopted by the bourgeoisie and a world was created whose main features were more like shades.
  • Moralistic traits largely fell by the wayside, which does not mean that the aristocracy ever really took up the moral obligation to the individual. We'll explain the difference between ethics and morals in another article.
  • The rural areas were pushed more and more into the background, also because there was no way to earn money. So more and more workers' and poor settlements emerged in the cities in which industry had gained a foothold.
  • Almost everyone who had been taken to the cities of the industrial plants was gripped by a hunger for education and knowledge. Only in this way would it have been guaranteed that those affected could lead a life similar to that of the new “nobility”. This mainly affected people who had already been trained. The farmers who came from the countryside were mostly unable to read and write.

Main themes of naturalism in literature

  • Tensions were inevitable - both in politics and in general social life. In literature, naturalism found an instrument for disseminating and discussing one's own ideas and protest.
  • In Emile Zola's work "Germinal", for example, he shows the plight of the petty bourgeoisie and the working class. He is critical of the military, capital and the stringent state power.
  • Zola depicts people in their subservience to industry. Zola also shows how little the workers could defend themselves against industry.
  • In all literary works of this literary epoch, the heroes generally fail.

Forms of naturalism

  • Drama: In drama, the authors focus on a small section of reality. They only focus on a few characters. The aim is to achieve a statement of the figures reduced to the essentials. The expressiveness of the literary and theatrical direction lies in the drama of the pieces presented. And the unity of place and time is another important element in the works of this epoch.
  • Epic: The authors avoid any form of commentary on the individual scenes in the plays. Another feature is the extremely detailed description of the scenes, which are almost always written in seconds.
  • Poetry: You will not find a rhyme form in the lyric works. The poem form with individual stanzas is also not used. Only the rhythm of the pieces emphasizes the dramatic elements.

In our next post, we'll stick with the topic of literature and explain what a novella is.