is the commitment of rendering unexceptional and ordinary realitiesof people’s lives in literature (Hook 8). In the literary workswhere this technique is applied, there is more emphasis on thecharacters’ ethical choices rather than the narratives’ plot.Narratives that provide an accurate representation of people’slives through the use of realism show the reality of social classesin the typical setting. TheNotorious Jumping Frog of Calaveras Countyby Mark Twain and DaisyMillerby Henry James have applied this literary technique, and this essaywill evaluate the use of realism in the identified writings.
InTheNotorious Jumping Frog,the narrative describes the lives of the major characters in such away that the audience would feel that they can relate to their socialclass. Although the narrator tells the story, the character that heis engaging in a conversation with, identified as Simon Wheeler,describes the majority of the narratives events. One factor thatcharacterizes realism is that it helps the reader cope with theissues in the society by presenting the reality to them (Hook 9).Similarly, the narratives by Mark Twain and Henry James also presentthe reality to the reader in detail, emphasizing on the charactersand values.
MarkTwain’s narrative illustrates that Simon Wheeler enjoys tellingstories even if they do not add value to the listener. The narratorand Simon Wheeler are also of the same social class, considering thatthey have a mutual friend. The narrative reveals various aspects ofthe characters’ lives in reality, and it even describes the mundaneactivities they undertake. “Far from imagining that there wasanything funny about his story, he considered it an important matter…I let him go on, and never interrupted” (Twain 122). The narrativefocuses on the characters’ nature at the expense of the plot, as itshows that the narrator does not enjoy Wheeler’s long story over atopic that he has no interest.
DaisyMilleralso focuses on the narrative’s characters as it describes theirdaily activities in a realistic fashion. Daisy is the main character,and one would immediately notice that she comes from a middle-classfamily, of which the majority of the people in that generationbelonged. Winterborne’s first meeting with Daisy occurs as theyundertake their daily activities, and the narrative goes ahead toshow the characters’ actual motives and attitudes. “I do not careto go now… all I want is a little fuss” (James 423). Daisy doesnot care what Winterborne would think of her and the manner in whichshe teases him, despite that being the first time they met. Eventhough Daisy is charming, Winterborne does not fully understand hercharacter.
Whenthe realism technique is utilized in literary works, the charactersspeak with an authentic voice that delivers a specific message to theaudience (Hook 19). In TheNotorious Jumping Frog,the narrator and Simon Wheeler describe events naturally, as theyreveal their emotions and thoughts. The narrator describes thesetting where he found Wheeler in detail as he focuses on Wheeler’scharacter. “I found Wheeler in the dilapidated tavern… he was fatand bald.” (Twain 122). Although the narration is realistic, italso comes out as satirical when one imagines the appearance of SimonWheeler when the narrator meets with him. Simon Wheeler also usessatire to show that Jim Smiley was not as smart as he thought when astranger beat him in the betting contest.
DaisyMillersimilarly has a realistic presentation of events in a satiricalmanner. Daisy keeps on teasing and making ironical comments toWinterborne throughout the narrative. As Mrs. Walker tries toconvince Daisy to join her in the carriage since it was not proper towalk with a man, Daisy disregards her with a satirical statement.“Does Mr. Winterborne think that I should get into the carriage tosave my reputation?” (James 446). Daisy’s response reveals herattitude in a realistic way even though she is satirical. As thisnarrative focuses on the real complexity of the characters, it isapparent that Daisy does not care about other individuals’opinions, and she prefers making choices through her volition.
Thecomplexity of characters in both narratives also depends on natureand the setting. In Twain’s story, Simon Wheeler does not knowanything about the individual that the narrator is seeking. Wheeler,however, is in a relaxed state, and he also likes to narrate longstories, and this is the reason he starts recounting the story aboutJim Smiley. Similarly, Daisy Miller tries forming socialrelationships without conforming to the societal rules, but otherpeople misunderstand her actions.
Bothliterary works fit the description of realism, and they alsorepresent middle-class life in their respective settings. MarkTwain’s narrative reveals various aspects of the characters’lives in reality, and it even describes the mundane activities theyundertake. Equally significant, Simon Wheeler and the narratordescribe events naturally, as they reveal their emotions andthoughts. Daisy Miller also focuses on the narrative’s charactersas it describes their daily activities in a realistic fashion.Overall, both stories provide a comprehensive detail of reality.
HenryJames. Daisy Miller. In TheNorton Anthology of American Literature.New York: W.W. Norton & Company. 2016. Print.
Hook,Andrew. AmericanLiterature in Context: 1865-1900.New York: Routledge. 2016. Print.
MarkTwain. The Notorious Jumping Frog of Calaveras County. In TheNorton Anthology of American Literature.New York: W.W. Norton & Company. 2016. Print.