The 10 Most Important Features of Naturalism

Some Characteristics of naturalism Determinism, pessimism, impersonal language or the rejection of romanticism.

Naturalism is an artistic, literary and philosophical movement, although with certain differences between disciplines, being especially recognized as a literary style.

Characteristics of naturalism

This movement is usually associated or related to the realism , A movement from which naturalism would take some of its aspects.

In literature, although similarly in philosophy and the arts, naturalism aims to reproduce reality in an objective, almost documentary way, exposing both the most sublime and beautiful, as well as the most vulgar and obscure, aspects of the way in which these Occur.

The term naturalism was coined by the French writer Émile Zola . He had published his novel Thérèse Èse Raquin in 1867, which was highly criticized to which he replied"The group of writers Naturalists To which I have the honor of belonging, has the courage and the activity to publish strong works, carrying with them their defense."

Thus, naturalism began as a branch of the realism, Which is the attempt to represent the subjects without artificiality, avoiding artistic conventions as well as incredible, exotic and supernatural elements. In naturalism aspects of realism were taken as misery, corruption, racism, vice, etc.

In painting, however, terms realism And naturalism are used interchangeably to refer to the naturalistic movement in painting.

Realistic or naturalistic painters rejected romanticism , Opting to portray scenes of daily life, which may be fascinating in themselves.

Characteristics of Naturalism

1 - Determinism

In the naturalistic narrative, the absence of the free will or Free choice (Belief that people have the power to choose and make decisions).

Thus, in naturalism is present the determinism , A doctrine that holds that every event is casually determined by the cause-consequence chain (the present state determines the future).

In this way, the characters that make up the universe of naturalistic novels do not seem to have hopes, even if they have problems and dreams, but without really doing anything for it.

An example of this is in the novel Native Son, where in one part, the character Bigger reflects on not having free will , Due to the high level of racism at the time.

2 - Pessimism

It has been mentioned how naturalism inherited various characteristics of the realism . Thus, among the main topics or topics dealt with by naturalists are the darkest situations of human life, such as vice, violence, racism, disease. This led to naturalism being criticized for focusing on the negative aspects of life.

This strong pessimism present in naturalists is a direct consequence of determinism, in which, for example, if a character was born in an environment of poverty, most likely in the context of naturalism, is that he dies in poverty.

This dark portrait of life can have a great value in raising awareness, allowing the reader to understand the difficulties people face in different situations, and how helpless they can feel.

3 - Narrative and language used

Naturalism had great scientific influence, in addition, many of its main literary exponents and playwrights also exerted like journalists. These antecedents influenced the narrative and language used in naturalism.

In this sense, the narrator (a) describes the situations, but in an impersonal tone, without getting involved with the characters or showing signs of affection or repudiation towards the situations that occur. This occurs because naturalists analyze and describe society from a scientific point of view.

In addition, as for the language used by the characters, it will be influenced by the environment and social context to which the characters belong, which usually belong to lower strata of society, so that the expressions used will try to be the same as those used By people living in conditions similar to those described.

4 - Human condition influenced by inheritance

Along with determinism, that is, the absence of free will , Naturalists were interested in heredity and human nature, which led them to explore how the characteristics of the parents can pass to the next generation and therefore determine the future of someone (a character) according to his heritage.

Therefore, the characteristics, positive and negative of someone, will be determined by the presence of these in the progenitors of the person.

For example, in the novel Thérer and Is Emile Zola's Raquin, the characters Laurent and Camille present strong characteristics, while Ethan Fromme of the novel of the same name, fails to escape its passive nature.

5 - Rejection of Romanticism

He romanticism Emerged as a cultural movement at the end of the eighteenth century, as a response to the rationalism of illustration and the Neoclassicism , Giving priority to feelings and a quest for freedom.

This movement was endowed with nostalgia, longing and dreams of freedom; Which would be rejected by naturalism, choosing to portray situations as they occur, and not as could be.

Thus, the painting of both movements presents a great contrast, portraying the romanticism Sublime scenes, while the naturalism Makes an almost documentary portrait of the scene.

6 - Approach between philosophy and science

Naturalism as a philosophical movement managed to bring philosophy closer to science, stating that there is nothing beyond nature (there is nothing over natural) and promoted the use of scientific method Or to investigate anything that is real.

This position was assumed by one of the two currents that adopted the naturalist philosophy, the Methodological philosophy . This current affirmed that both science and philosophy seek truths through experience.

7 - Scientific method to portray reality

It has been mentioned as, especially in Naturalistic narrative , The reality is counted on an almost journalistic and scientific impartiality.

Precisely, naturalism as a literary movement emphasized the application of scientific method And observation.

He scientific method Is a method or procedure of investigation, mainly used in the production of knowledge in the sciences.

This method consists of systematic observation, measurement, experimentation, formulation, analysis and modification of the hypotheses. In this way, naturalists use this approach to produce the characteristics of their stories and their characters.

8 - Methodological and Metaphysical Naturalism

In philosophy, naturalism represents the idea that only natural laws and forces, and not supernatural or spiritual ones, operate in the world.

Thus, naturalists argue that natural laws control the structure and behavior of the natural universe.

Naturalistic philosophy is separated into two streams or positions: Ontological Naturalism Y Methodological Naturalism . In this sense, the Ontological Naturalism Study with what exists , Stating that what controls the physical world is the natural laws, and that nothing that is not physical can then have influence on the physical world.

On the other hand, the Methodological Naturalism Focuses on the methods of search and observation used in philosophy, and the approach of this with science. Thus exposing both disciplines seek truths by the same methods.

9 - Social Environment

The life and destiny of the characters in the naturalistic narrative are determined by various factors, as mentioned, determinism and inheritance. From this also derives the social environment to which the characters belong in naturalistic novels.

In addition to the factors that determine the conditions of the characters, the pessimistic approach of naturalism is conducive for the predominant social groups in naturalistic works to be marginalized sectors of society.

Nevertheless, the realistic nature of naturalism allows the social environment portrayed to be as it was observed by the author, with his best and worst qualities.

10 - Darwinism

Naturalism was highly influenced by the publication of the book The origin of species from Charles Darwin In 1859, which is the foundation of Evolutionary biology .

In this book, Darwin introduced the scientific theory that populations evolve over the course of generations, through a process known as natural selection.

Darwin demonstrated how the evolution of species is determined by the struggle for survival.

Thus, Darwin's theory strongly influenced naturalists, who saw people as different species, that is, different types of people, all struggling to survive and thrive.


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