Challenges In The Second Half Of The 19th Century

797 Words 4 Pages
The American writers in the second half of the nineteenth century often focus on situations when individuals are called upon to face many challenges. Post-Civil War brought many trials and tribulations for Americans. Whether it was Native Americans trying to stand ground for their land, freed slaves trying to navigate their new freedom, or women in traditional subservient roles trying to take a stand, American writers drew upon these new challenges for Americans and wove it into their literature.
First, the writing shows that individuals are required to face challenges in post-Civil War society. Railroads were expanding, westward growth was on the rise and individuals were faced with fighting for their land, their freedom and their citizenship.
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The end of the Civil War was a tumultuous time for many Americans as they lost husbands and fathers in the war and struggled to rebuild. Mary Wilkins Freeman and Kate Chopin both spun stories of troubled marriages lacking communication and freedom. In Chopin’s “The Story of an Hour”, Louise is secretly thrilled when she believes she has been widowed because it is a chance for her to be free of the strangle hold her husband has on her. Chopin draws on the reality of the nineteenth century world where women have little rights unless they are a widow. Freeman’s “The Revolt of Mother” describes a woman who finally takes action after never having a relationship built on reciprocal communication or commitment. When Sarah’s daughter in the story is about to be married, Sarah, like any mother, wants the best for her which in this case includes being married in a proper parlor. After years of empty promises from her husband and no commitment to follow through on a promise made to Sarah as a young bride, she chooses to take serious action and moves her family into their new home determined to give her daughter the wedding she …show more content…
Naturalism, launched in response to the advances and discoveries taking the scientific world by storm, found its way in the works of many American authors. For Stephen Crane, nature looks insignificantly upon humanity. In Crane’s “The Open Boat” nature rears its ugly head showing how unpredictable it can be. As the four men are stranded in the open waters fighting for survival Crane reminds the reader that nature is indiscriminate, taking the life of the oiler, the strongest of the foursome. Mark Twain uses nature to create a satirical world of childhood memories of growing up on the Mississippi River longing to be a riverboat pilot in “Life on the

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