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Naturalism in American Literature: "An Episode of War"

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Tyler J

on 19 February 2013

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Transcript of Naturalism in American Literature: "An Episode of War"

Naturalism in American Literature: "An Episode of War" by: Tyler Jacobs Evidence of Naturalism in relation to themes Overall statement about Naturalism in the story: Evidence of Naturalism in relation to characters: Evidence of Naturalism in relation to the setting What is Naturalism? None of the characters in the short story have names, which is a great example of Naturalism because they're hopeless objects. The setting of the selection takes place on a Civil War battlefield Type of writing based on the belief that all that exists in the world is nothing but matter. The characters are referred to as the Lieutenant and the Doctor. They don't have specific names. The Lieutenant in the story gets shot in the arm. I think this part expresses Naturalism because he could not do anything to stop that, and he was affected by the environment. The lieutenant's instinct to defend himself is also an expression of realism. The doctor lies tot he lieutenant and tells him he won't amputate his arm. This relates to Naturalism in that, what's happening to the lieutenant is out of his control. The setting relates to Naturalism because the outcome of being shot on battlefield at any point in time is completely unpredictable. Evidence of Naturalism in the plot The lieutenant is rationing out the supply of coffee when he is startled by the sound of a gunshot. Then the lieutenant notices his blood saturating his sleeve. The lieutenant reacts slowly and tries to defend himself when he draws the sword he was using to count out the coffee packets. Then it is as if his mind goes off somewhere and he questions his existence and the meaning of life. He is dumbstruck. Naturalism relates to the story when the lieutenant is in a lower position than he was at the beginning of the story. For instance, being taken to the hospital, and later having his arm amputated. In the end he seems delusional. There is no happy ending for the character. We also see that nature itself is never altered by human action in the story. Which is also true in any work of naturalistic literature. The theme of the story is war on its own and how it isn't merciful to any occasion. Whether you're a soldier fighting or if you're an innocent bystander. The lieutenant- intelligent and quiet (Protagonist) The doctor- impatient and careless (Antagonist) The characteristic theme in naturalistic literature is a struggle for survival. The theme of the story relates to Naturalism in that, there is a harsh reality that nothing can really save you. No super hero will appear to save the day. The story was a situation in which no decisions made by the lieutenant could have prevented that outcome and was instead entirely affected by the environment and chance, which is an explanation consistent with the definition of naturalism.
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