Consequences Of Realism In To Build A Fire, Genesis Of The Tenements

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“Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn’t go away.”

Realism can be simply defined as attempting to represent a subject truthfully, without any kind of exaggeration or implausible content. Each of the authors in this collection had somewhat similar themes about reality that they wove into their stories, and three in particular stood out as having very definite themes: To Build a Fire, Genesis of the Tenement, and The Story of an Hour.

To Build a Fire, the first text in this collection, deals with the consequences of ignoring reality. In this selection, a man travels alone through the Yukon Territory, during bitter cold weather, and with very little supplies or preparations. As the text states, “He was quick and alert
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This selection was written to describe the conditions of tenement houses, overcrowded slums that filled New York City during the late 1900’s. The first sentence of this selection states, “The first tenement New York knew bore the mark of Cain from its birth, though a generation passed before the writing was deciphered.” The author means that tenement houses were “cursed,” or were terrible creations from the very beginning, but this was ignored and not tended to for a long time. The owners of these dwellings were blinded by a want of money, and refused to see or understand what their tenants were living in, as the text states, “It was the rent the owner was after; nothing was said in the contract about either safety or the comfort of the tenants. This issue spiraled out of control in a very short period of time, as more immigrants came to live in New York City, in these tenement houses. Hundreds of thousands of people were living in cramped, filthy, unventilated spaces, and deaths due to disease, suffocation, or even depression skyrocketed. However, as the video The Story of Us explains, this selection shocked Americans when it was released, and brought them to the reality of their surroundings. America, known to most as “the land of opportunities,” was in reality not much better a place than the lands many …show more content…
Over the course of the entire story, up until the very end, the main character is believes that her husband is dead. Under this assumption, she starts to imagine her future, and “a long procession of years to come that would belong to her absolutely.” She becomes very excited at the thought that she was free from the control of her husband, and that “there would be no powerful will bending hers in that blind persistence with which men and women believe they have a right to impose a private will upon a fellow creature.” This over-excitement causes her to breathe faster, and her heart to pump harder. It was explained in the very first sentence that she has a weak heart, so this excitement was hurting her, though she did not realize the reality of her situation at the time. At the very end of the story, however, her assumed-dead husband walks through the door, and the main character dies from shock. After becoming overwhelmingly excited at the thought of her future without a husband, the sight of her husband still alive caused reality to come crashing down upon her, and the shock weakened her heart enough to fail completely. The theme that could be taken from this story is that reality is not always what it seems, and becoming too interested in dreams instead of reality can have

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