Realism vs Naturalism
Between realism and naturalism, the difference is in the way they choose to tell their stories in writing. Realism and Naturalism are two words that are confused in terms of their real meanings and connotations. These are two different words with different concepts and meanings. In fact, both of them are said to be two different artistic styles that showed considerable differences between them. The confusion between the two words is understandable given the fact that naturalism is a branch that grew from realism. It contains more than realism. Therefore, if we are to understand each term correctly we have to pay individual attention to each term.
What is Realism?
Realism is a movement that began around the mid nineteenth century and found its way up to late nineteenth and early twentieth century. Realism as the name implies is depicting the life as we know it in the works of art. That means unlike romanticism, which excelled sometimes in situations that could never happen in the real life, realism focused on showing life as it is really in the real life in literature as well as in theatre. We can focus on the theatre to see how realism works on stage.
Now, we have already established that realism is depicting life as it is on stage when it comes to theatre. So, in a drama based on realism, you will see the actors performing stories that depicts real life without the involvement of supernatural beings and such, which are not a part of the real life. In such a drama, say that the background should be a brick wall. Then, you can have the backdrop with painted bricks to represent the bricks.
What is Naturalism?
Naturalism is believed to be around from 1880 to 1930s. Naturalism is a form of realism. That means it too shows life as it is in its creations. However, naturalism is more focused on explaining things in a more scientific way. It shows how science and technology affect the society when we take it as a whole. Also, it focuses on how society and genetics affect an individual. To understand more how naturalism works in literary forms, let us see how naturalism comes to life on a stage.
In theatre, when a drama has naturalism as its base, you will see a good difference. When it comes to actors of the drama, you will see that they will be acting in such a way to make the acting more natural and more realistic. So, they will be acting as they would in the real life. For example, if there is such an action that requires you to turn your back to the audience if you were doing that in real life that is exactly what the actors of naturalism would do. Turning back to the audience is part of following naturalism in their drama. Also, if you have a brick wall as the background in an act, in naturalism, that brick wall has to be real brick.
What is the difference between Realism and Naturalism?
• Realism existed from mid nineteenth century up to late nineteenth and early twentieth century.
• Naturalism is believed to be around 1880 to 1930s.
• Definition of Realism and Naturalism:
• Realism was depicting life as it is in real life in the works of fiction including theatre.
• Naturalism is a form of realism. That means it too shows life as it is in its creations. However, naturalism is more focused on explaining things in a more scientific way. It shows how science and technology affect the society when we take it as a whole. Also, it focuses on how society and genetics affect an individual.
• Characters of focus:
• Realism often focused on middle class characters.
• Naturalism focused on lower-class characters or characters with poor education.
• Approach and popularity:
• Realism was more sympathetic in its approach towards story and as a result could gain the attention and the liking of the audience.
• Naturalism, as it was more focused on a more clinical approach to the story, was not that heart-felt or passionate as a realistic story. As a result, products of naturalism were not that popular with the audience.
Though they are known as two different types, by now, realism and naturalism have more or so integrated that it is hard to differentiate one from the other in terms of creations.
Images Courtesy: Bonjour, Monsieur Courbet, 1854. A Realist painting by Gustave Courbet and Emile Zola via Wikicommons (Public Domain)