Naturalism Analysis Through "Ethan Frome" and "Moby Dick"

Essay by kcmoz10146High School, 11th gradeA+, May 2005

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During the period in which naturalism was used strongly in writing, many different writers expressed their opinions much more satisfactorily because of the idea of naturalism. Two of these authors are Edith Wharton, known especially for her work, Ethan Frome, and Herman Melville, whose masterpiece, Moby Dick, has been a best seller for years. These authors tried as hard as they could to portray life exactly as it was in an extension of realism. These two books greatly help explain the idea of naturalism in their entirety.

        Naturalism is defined as "a 19th century movement that was an extension of realism and that claimed to portray life exactly as it was." The Naturalists attempted to almost dissect human behavior with complete objectivity, in the same way that a scientist would dissect a specimen in a lab. This is easily shown in Edith Wharton's Ethan Frome. The narrator in the book is someone who is visiting Frome's hometown, and starts to befriend the mysterious old man.

He discovers the secret to Frome, and tells the story. It is absolutely realistic for a man with a struggling marriage to begin to become attracted to a pretty young woman. Frome does exactly this, and naturalism is again shown in another place in this book. Frome lives out in the country, and is very secluded from the rest of the small New Hampshire town closest to him. He is very lonely, therefore, and seems to always be looking for something new and exciting to do. That is exactly why he takes notice of Mattie Silver. This is a perfect example of naturalism in Ethan Frome.

        In Melville's Moby Dick, naturalism is used in a whole new way. The root word, nature, is used throughout the book, as weather conditions worsen for the poor Captain...

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