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Summary: "Criticism and Fiction" by William Dean Howells

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While considering the realism and naturalism from the perspectives of their representation in the literature works by William Dean Howells, it is essential to refer the author’s philosophical approach toward the society which is viewed by the author from the perspective of ‘art’. In “Criticism and Fiction” by William Dean Howells; for instance, , the author makes an attempt for representation of the particular aspects, where the crowds usually go wrong in terms of making the decisions, as well as providing the readers with the own approach toward the subject matter. This statement may be traced from the following passage from the reading” Most of these critics who demand “passion” would seem to have no conception of any passion but one. Yet there are several other passions: the passion of grief, the passion of avarice, the passion of pity, the passion of ambition, the passion of hate, the passion of envy, the passion of devotion, the passion of friendship; and all these have a greater part in the drama of life than the passion of love, and infinitely greater than the passion of guilty love.”

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In the extent of this passageway, the author has represented his critical point in relation to the effect, which is made by art on the human being and their perception of such issues as realism and naturalism in their lives. In general terms, the author emphasizes on the fact that art may be a pleasing issue for the human beings but such condition as being ‘pleasurable’; however, this is not an obligatory thing. Howells integrates the particular approach with the statement that beauty is already interrelated with truth and vice versa. Therefore, William Howells may be considered as a realist writer in the above defined content as beauty is seen by the author in the accuracy, reality and truth due to the fact that such considerations may be traced from his writings as valuable. The critical considerations of Howells are furthermore elaborated in the philosophical realms while seeing the major features of the common or ordinary human being. As it is claimed by Howells, in the vast majority of cases a human has all the power needed by one, in the case of being strong and brave enough in its proper practical application. In addition, the entire set of things, which may be reflected as ideal in their nature, is rejected by Howells as he claims that the major things and issues are usual and simple.

 Even more, the excellent gentlemen are seen by the author as not fascinating or even more, boring. It is possible to make a statement that Howells considers that people that ‘tend to live by the book’, are not able to live their lives in a realistic manner. Thus, the major power is assigned by Howells to the common or ordinary men. In the scope of this question discussion, Editha by William Dean Howells would be assessed and evaluated form the perspective of its realistic nature. It is essential to note that the author’s commitment to literary realism may be seen from the perspective of the way, life is portrayed by one in the maximally possible accurate and truthful nature. As it is either narrated by the character or depicted by the author, the practical application of the natural or realistic cover to the story even while contemplating the fact this work of literature is of fictitious nature. The realism is of the story is shaped by the maximally-believable representation of the major characters as the reader may perceive them as actually existing people one of the major specific traits of Howells’ writing is that the heroes are represented as average people without extraordinary abilities, wealth power, etc.

 Finally, the layer of realism is added to the story by Howells by showing the deceitful motives, of Editha in terms of her support of the warriors in the vast majority of cases, the care motivating factors of humans in the real lives, are not always pure in their nature. In addition, the unrealistic approach toward the war is represented by Editha – as war actions are the glory and alarmed nature. “And I call any war glorious that is for the liberation of people who have been struggling for years against the cruelest oppression. Don’t you think so, too?”  “I call it a sacred war. A war for liberty, and humanity, if ever there was one. And I know you will see it just as I do, yet.” Therefore, Howells as the realistic writer shown two perspectives of life perception- the real life events, the truthfulness of the heroes and their actions as well as the ways the world may be perceived by humans from non traditional perspective due to the objective factors (such as young young age or some firm life values). 

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