Friday, October 25, 2019
Symbolism and Realism Essay -- Symbolism Realism Literature Essays
Symbolism and Realism Symbolism and Realism were distinct but parallel literary movements that swept Europe and much of the world in the late 19th century. Social order was one of the main concerns of Symbolists and Realists, which reflects the unprecedented growth of the middle class and its values across Europe during that time period. Morality and ambition were homogenized Ã¢â¬â and, in some cases, institutionalized Ã¢â¬â to a degree never before seen in civilized society, and many intellectuals and artists saw this homogenization as a conformist social force that threatened individual perspective. Thus, SymbolistsÃ¢â¬â¢ and RealistsÃ¢â¬â¢ works lashed out against social institutions and values and were particularly concerned about the domestic sphere, because of its dependence on social norms and shaping effect on individual perceptions; were disturbed by the decaying effects of conformism; and were troubled by the disconnection between modern individuals. Moreover, Symbolists and Realists a rgue that these three themes of domesticity, decay, and disconnection are linked, a connection explored especially in the Symbolist Charles BaudelaireÃ¢â¬â¢s poem, Ã¢â¬Å"Spleen LXVIIIÃ¢â¬ (1862), in the Realist Leo TolstoyÃ¢â¬â¢s novella, The Death of Ivan Ilyich (1886), and in the Realist Anton ChekhovÃ¢â¬â¢s play, The Cherry Orchard (1903). Specifically, these authors argue that the various forms of modern domestic life lead to the ruination of substantial interpersonal connection. As long as one drowns in lifeÃ¢â¬â¢s tedium, asserts Baudelaire, the human experience and oneÃ¢â¬â¢s connections with others decay. Ã¢â¬Å"Spleen LXVIIIÃ¢â¬ describes a winter rain that pours Ã¢â¬Å"On corpses fading in the near graveyard, On foggy suburbs pours lifeÃ¢â¬â¢s tediumÃ¢â¬ (1550.II 3, 4), and, speaking of a ... ...orms in one way or another destroy oneÃ¢â¬â¢s connections with other human beings. Not only does such focus on forms defy the social nature of humanity, creating generations of socially approved outcasts, but also it severely restricts the individualÃ¢â¬â¢s perspective by forcing it to conform to preordained, rigid structures, thereby suffocating the blessing of human creativity. Such restriction does not belong to modern civilization alone, however; creativity never exists without limit, for every society upholds rules of conduct that its members are taught to obey. Therefore, contemporary conformity is not new but rather reborn and strengthened. Correspondingly, the task of the modern citizen is ancient, but difficult in its originality: to strike a balance between creativity and conformity, between pursuing our own diverse forms and following the accepted forms of society.