Novelists Inherits The Realism Of Previous Generations English Literature Essay

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As soon as a novel is presented, a need for realism is president in the construction of the piece, the novel itself being: "a fictitious prose narrative of book length, typically representing character and action with some degree of realism."This realism is not only a necessity in order to immerse the reader but also to detract from that of previous romance writings. This essay will not only critique how realism is presented within each generation of novel writing, but also how each writer uses and dissects the styles of previous writers, and to see if this, therefore renders the previous pieces as unbelievable.

My main focuses of this discussion will be following that of Samuel Richardson's "Pamela", Mary Shelley's "Frankenstein or, The Modern Prometheus" and finally that of Charlotte Bronte's "Jane Eyre". Each novel was first published at different time scales, Richardson first publishing his novel at 1740, Shelley anomalously at the later date of 1818, and finally Bronte's "Jane Eyre" at that of 1847. This allows for a detailed cross examination at the evolution of realism, as well as that of the novel. In order to do this I will examine several aspects consistent within each piece and assess how each later generation redesigned and used these qualities.

The first of such points is the form presented in each novel. Richardson's "Pamela" is greatly recognized for its use of the epistolary form, conveying Pamela's exchanges with her parents as she begins a life of servitude and virtue avoiding the aggressive approaches of her benefactor, Mr. B. The very style of writing presented, immediately presents a realistic situation: that of collection of letters between loved ones, which have been simply discovered and printed. Richardson immediately reinforces this with aesthetics throughout, for instance Pamela asking her parents not to "wonder to see the pages so blotted" [2] by tears brought about mourning the death of her mistress. Following the exchanges in letter form, the latter part of the novel concludes in a diary structure as Pamela remains imprisoned under Mr. B's control unable to respond to her parents' request.

It is in this same form that Shelley provides the narrative to her gothic tale; the story presented as a series of letters from Robert Walton to his sister Margaret about his transverses across "unexplored regions, lands of mist and snow," that of the North Pole. The epistolary form yet again enhances the believability of said letters; however Shelley perfects the stylistic approach at a greater level than that of her predecessor Richardson. Whilst each letter of "Pamela" ends with variations of the "Dutiful" "sad hearted" "daughter/Pamela", Shelley's letters have a much more human feeling, the very signature of Robert being present at each, varying depending on the situation and context of each letter, for instance expressed in the "few lines in haste [3] " posted in letter 3, which end simply with "R.W." This simple alteration generates a much more defining aspect of reality, convincing the reader of the urgency of the circumstances presented when the letter is written. More so the very length of letters presented in that of "Frankenstein" is more realised than that of "Pamela": for instance this can be found in Pamela's apologies for "breaking off abruptly" from letter XIV [4] , a letter that still spans a page and a half, involving complex language. However Robert's rushed explanation of "advancement on his voyage" [5] follows a truer image, barely covering a whole page.

However, as we look further on at "Jane Eyre" we find that the letter style previously used has advanced and replaced with a much smoother one. In it, Jane being a constant narrator, presents a (almost) Memoir of her life. Rather than being constricted to the lines of a letter, Jane often turns to her "reader" to discuss the events presented, therefore breaking the fourth barrier. No more is this apparent when she asks us to "fancy you see a room in the George in at Millcote" [6] This immersion of reader with writer allows for a much greater bond to be formed, allowing for a much more accessible, and most importantly, realistic experience.

This is not the only way in which form has evolved over the ages to present realism; it is in the very presentation of character also. It is evident from the form of the title character Pamela that Richardson still held some of the sensibilities present in the Romance. A character built within perfection, Pamela is often considered "very pretty [7] " by all she meets, highly "virtuous" and "dutiful", all of which were considered outstanding qualities. It is through such immaculate beauty that the titular character ascends into the higher classes. However it is when we examine the lead role of "Jane Eyre" that we see such romantic perfection has vanished. In Jane, we see humanity; "I was so little, so pale and had features so irregular and marked." Rather Jane is respected for her passion and intelligence rising to "first girl of the class, then invested with office as a teacher. [8] " In Jane we see an antithesis of the "damsel in distress" or the consideration of outer beauty relating to inner beauty so common in former romances. Instead Bronte presents a realistic presence; a female protagonist whom the reader can easily relate to, not one of perfect virtue and beauty, but someone "Human".

However, in "Frankenstein" we find no such similarities. Rather than focusing on one present character, Shelley alternates to that of Robert, Victor and the Monster. Indeed the damsel is present in the form of Elizabeth, but there is no ascension to grace, instead she is found "lifeless and inanimate" [9] after being suffocated by Frankenstein's regretted creation. Yes indeed we see passion in the journeys of both Robert in his quest to the North Pole, coupled with that of Victors' quest to seek life in death, for his "filthy creation." [10] However gone is any beauty in such success present in both Jane Eyre and Pamela's predicaments, both are presented with failure. In presenting such "Inhumanity" with the monster created and peoples' reactions to such an oddity, we find realism present.

Following this, each novelist use of genre is noted to also further and manipulate its predecessor. Romanticism is apparent in all 3 novels, although its use is varied between each. In Pamela we find a servant brought up with pastoral sensibilities, who upon discovering her masters aggressive passions, would be "content with rags and poverty, and bread and water" [11] rather than living a life of riches. Indeed we find that such sensibilities are found to gain reward in aristocracy, a message Richardson was aiming to present; in holding your "virtue" you will be rewarded. Yet the realism of a servant elevating to a higher class is questionable, especially in such times when class was so divided.

Indeed in "Frankenstein" we find romanticism, however it is pushed beyond normal binds to that of the gothic. Throughout we find relation to romantic writings (possibly due to Shelley's Husband Percy, a greatly romanticised poet), the very setting of the North Pole, a land "of mist and snow" is a reach out to that of Coleridge's "rime of the ancient mariner" [12] . All subsequent locations are of immense sublime beauty; Mount Blanc where Victor hears his creations story, the small pastoral house in which the monster learns the beauty of humanity, and gains greater understanding. Even in the creature we find romanticism present, a being of such outward disgrace, and eventually crime due to social out casting. Before being "degraded beneath the lowest animal" [13] , the monster is "filled with sublime and transcendent visions of the beauty and majesty of goodness". A beast that finds "sustenance" throughout nature, rather than flesh, of course presenting the romantic belief that man's corruption of nature via enlightenment is true evil. It is indeed in the monster's very presence that we find an image against nature, a form born of science. Whilst the idea of life in death is now considered untrue, the very possibility of science discovering such ("we murder to dissect" [14] ) was a very present and real concern at the time of "Frankenstein's" publication. Corpses being shocked into movement by the process of "Galvanism" will have made the idea of life very much true. The very landscape of Shelley's tale presents a cold barren land, never the less with life presented on its fringes, yet again the "life in death [15] " present in Coleridge's nightmarish tale.

Yet as we progress further, Bronte holds onto the aspects of romanticism and gothic nature, yet manipulates it further to present a more realistic image. Rather than such exuberance of that present in the great mountains and sublime landscapes of "Frankenstein" nor the perfect pastoral image of Pamela's early life and sensibilities, we instead find a much more agreeable image. Indeed both romanticism and the gothic is secured throughout the novel, Jane's constant venturing into a "seat of smooth stone [16] " concealed within the woods, the image of the imposing Thornfield hall presiding the rich country side, all present the true image of beautiful English country side. However gone is the beautified language of both past novels, instead Bronte opts for a more casual description, never too exaggerated: "Farther off were hills, not so lofty as those of Lowood, not craggy, nor so like barriers [17] " compared to "amphitheatre of mountains" which speak "a power of mighty omnipotence" [18] presented in "Frankenstein". Better still the sense of the gothic has taken a greater advancement towards reality. Instead of Shelley's monster conveying a fear so great it must be considered real, Bronte opts for a disturbed situation that is still a possibility: Bertha mason, Mr Rochester's estranged wife secluded within the confines of the halls. Firstly witnessed by Jane as a "foul German spectre - the vampyre [19] " Bronte brings the element of the unknown into reality, as we soon discover the weird goings on are not caused by a "daemon" like that of "Frankenstein" but instead the distraught temperaments of a woman lacking sanity. Yet again we find Bronte working off her past novelist ideas, using the possibility of unknown so brought out in Shelley's gothic tale, yet concluding it with an earthly experience, never the less, equally as chilling.

So it is in conclusion that I assess the question asserted at the beginning of this essay: in inheriting the way authors used realism, do later novelists find that the past pieces are therefore condemned to untruth. This can be considered both ways. Indeed we see advancements in the way in which writing style is re-moulded; however it is questionable whether the actual context of each piece is real. Of course the likely hood of creating life ("Frankenstein") is less likely than ascension; by marriage in to aristocracy (both Pamela and Jane Eyre succeed this). Yet upon looking at each novel's character and conclusion, it is questioned whether realism has truly been learnt. Immediately after release, "An apology for the life of Miss Shamela Andrews [20] " was produced to mock the quality of realism within "Pamela". In "Jane Eyre" we find regression to the days of Romance writing: Jane happily seated in a marriage of "perfect concord." All are "happy because those we love most are happy [21] " as well as the recovering vision of Rochester. Indeed this can be considered a throwback to "Pamela" who is immersed in gentry who "congratulate our happiness." [22] All of this presents perfection to far from realism, a perfection not humoured by that of "Frankenstein." It is in my opinion that in Shelley's novel we find the most realistic sense; whilst indeed a tale of unbelievable circumstances; one can actually feel Margaret sitting alone reading the sad tale of Victor's life. Rather than focusing on human aspects of love, such as that of Bronte and Richardson, Shelley uses "beauty and fear [23] " (presided by that of Wordsworth "prelude") to make the Unreal a very real possibility indeed. So indeed, it is very obvious that each writer of a later generation has inherited its past novelist style, but the realism conveyed by the latter does not always destroy that of its predecessors, the stark, brutal truth (in a literal sense) of "Frankenstein" compared to its successor being testament to this.