Realism Romanticism & Transcendentalism the Essay

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This gave everyone motivation to let themselves be heard and say whatever it was that was on their mind. This was what American life at the time was all about, and it was through American Literature that they were able to do so. Transcendentalism brought upon a literary era that encouraged the succeeding eras of literature to define American Literature.

Realism was a literary period in American history that came after the Civil War era. With individuals trying to recover from a very dark period where the reconstruction of lives, families, and states were underway, writers, educators, and poets contributed to this period by providing realistic representations of what was occurring around them. From 1865-1900, Realism was a popular genre in America, as it was trying to recover from internal damage, from which came individuals who were willing to share their stories. Although it might be thought as boring and uninteresting for an individual to share the story of their lives, it was this same sharing experience that made this period unique, and a great contribution to the development of American Literature. Writings, like "On Being Brought from Africa to America," were an example of a representation of the time. A former slave, Phillis Wheatley depicts her time of slavery as something that saved her since it brought her into Christianity. She states, "Remember, Christains, Negroes, black as Cain, May be refin'd and join th' angelic train" (p 403). It was statements such as these that made this literary period one that contributed vastly to American Literature, because as unfortunate and unfair as some periods in American history were, this period of realism documented all that occurred in a way that will be saved for generations to come. The hope of a new era was expressed in Wheatley's words, and this was exactly what time literary era became. It was the start of a new America.

American literature is defined as a cultivation and combination of different literary eras following the Revolutionary War. It was this sense of freedom, and this idea of wanting to start all over, that contributed to the continuation of American literature as an icon of American ideals. Through Romanticism, Transcendentalism, and Realism, literature symbolic of Americanism was born. One literary era led right to the next as times and environments changed, but in the end, it is what American Literature is all about.


Bryant, William Cullen. "To a Waterfowl." The American Tradition in Literature, 12th ed. Ed. George and Perkins, Barbara. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2009. p 785. Print.

Emerson, Ralph. "Self-Reliance." The American Tradition in Literature, 12th ed. Ed. George and Perkins, Barbara. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2009. p 1334. Print.

Wheatley, Phillis. "On Being Brought from Africa to America." The American Tradition in Literature, 12th ed. Ed. George and…[continue]

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