Under the Lion’s Paw
Under the Lion’s Paw Late in the nineteenth century and early in the twentieth, Americans would see a major turn in their literature. Writers would turn away from the popular style of romanticism and focus on the struggle many Americans went through in their lives. This stray from heroic characters and their illusory life is aided by three rising movements in literature. Regionalism, Realism and Naturalism transformed America’s literature by relating to average Americans and their surroundings.
Under the Lion’s Paw, by Hamlin Garland is an exceptional example of literature from this time period through its style, characterization, and the literary movements within the story. In the story Under the Lion’s Paw by Hamlin Garland, many aspects portray it as typical of the time period, which was around 1891. One of the most pronounced qualities is the Regionalism the story was written with. Regionalism follows a basic rule of writing: write what you know.
Under the Lion’s Paw Essay Example
Garland approached writing in this method as well; as he believed who include the “local color” of the region best known to them personally, write better stories. In Under the Lion’s Paw, Regionalism establishes the story, as specific hardships that the characters lived through were popular to certain regions. Instead of focusing on just the drama of the characters, the story had a well-developed setting. Obviously set in a Midwestern state, Americans are able to closely relate to the hardships that were focused on this area.
Garland also had a great knowledge of farm life and work, and as a result, the descriptions of the characters’ actions were entirely accurate. Dialect is also an important factor in the “local color” of an area, and the audience gets a definite understanding for the setting from the dialogue between characters. A movement in literature that is as prominent and related to Regionalism in the 1890’s is Realism. Under the Lion’s Paw indicates its time of publishing through its use of Realism, which was a new and popular idea of this time period.
The stories characters epitomize Realism through their brutal struggle. The main characters; the Council’s and the Haskin’s were not celebrities or heroes, they were average Americans. Using Characters that were considered average the audience could relate to them which made the impact of their misery much stronger and personal. “-but they was days this week when I jes wanted to lay right down an’ die. ” This quote truly paints a picture of the life of a struggling farmer and was written to shock the reader.
The hardship of these “average” characters is treated as importantly as if they were powerful men and women, which is important to Realism. Naturalism is a literary movement popular to the time in which Under the Lion’s Paw was published. Naturalism basically focuses on characters who experience forces beyond their control. This is all too clear in Under the Lion’s Paw as the story begins with farmers working against the weather to plow their fields. The most clear naturalistic event is how the Haskins family got down on their luck; a cloud of grasshoppers demolished their farm.
This event was an act of fate, something completely out of their control that they did not provoke, nor could prevent. Natural forces are not the only forces associated with Naturalism, as social forces beyond the character’s control also occur. The Haskins’ son was forced to work tirelessly at a young age and his father reflected “Yet Haskins loved his boy, and would have saved him from this if he could, but he could not. ” Another societal force that affected the Haskins was Mr. Butler’s position. Mr. Haskin was going to murder Mr.
Butler but because of his situation, he could not and he could not control Mr. Butler’s “laws”. Regionalism, Realism, and Naturalism are typical literary movements of the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century. Their presence in Under the Lion’s Paw by Hamlin Garland cause this story to be considered typical of this time period. The relations of Regionalism, the harshness of Realism, and the brutality of Naturalism morphed previous Romanticism into a writing style more typical to modern literature.