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Romantic Escapism: From Dull Realities to Higher Truths
Transcript of Romantic Escapism: From Dull Realities to Higher Truths
Have you ever tried to free yourself from the boredom of class by fantasizing about things, like traveling to other worlds, pretending you were a superhero, or anything of the sort? In the 1700s, the Romantics did the exact same thing. In those times, it was all work and no play, so in order to provide an escape from dull, work-driven lives, they relied solely on their imagination to escape to different realities.
Methods Of Escapism
Method 1:Reflections on the Natural World
Sometimes people would realize how beautiful a bird looks when it flies, or how lovely the sounds of a creek are, or just how amazing it is to be alive and be able to witness and create memories about it. Romantics would then write poems that projected their thoughts and what they saw.
The American Novel
Unlike the Puritans, who drew moral lessons from nature, the Romantics found less clearly defined divinities and instead focused their contemplations of the world on a more emotional and intellectual standpoint.
Method 2:Making Stories from Out of the Ordinary
Romantics searched for things out of the ordinary and used that as a sort of inspiration for their imaginations and new stories to amuse themselves
Ex. In Washington Irving’s
The Devil and Tom Walker
, people took a man’s rapid and sudden change from poverty to wealth and turned it into something that seemed much more interesting. In this story, Tom Walker makes a deal with the devil to gain his wealth.
strikes a deal with
Americans decided to develop their own distinctive, unique literature . While other Romantics stuck to traditional forms, American novelists believed that the ideas available to them were completely different from the Europeans.
The Creation of the Wild West Theme
America had a sense of “limitless frontiers” full of adventure and new stories to be told, which was something Europe apparently lacked. The development of such ideals led to westward expansion, growth of nationalist spirit, and the rapid spread of cities. All these ideas encouraged frontier life.
Speculations about the geography west led to wild imaginations: new characters emerged in literature, like American Indians, back-woodsmen, and typical Romantic American heroes
Ex. One such hero that appeared was Natty Bumppo (fictional character made by novelist James Fenimore Cooper) who was a role model for all ages aspiring to expand west. He was still the ideal Romantic hero; he was heroic, virtuous, skilled, loved nature, and he was resourceful.