The Last Lovely City Historical Context

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Realism in Literature

Adams's career consistently reflects tendencies of literary realism. She is known for portraying realistic characters (usually female) who are coping with the challenges and opportunities of the modern world. Because of her realistic bent, Adams never gives her characters a romantic ending. Instead, her characters learn to accept their situations and make the best of them.

Literary realism began during the post-Civil War years (1865-1900). The war had left many Americans feeling that their optimism for the country had been misguided, and a sense of cynicism grew. Writers like Charles Darwin and Karl Marx put forth new theories that called into question widely accepted religious and political ideas. The poets Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson wrote during this period, and their works represent a departure from romantic and sentimental verse that had been popular up until that time. The realism of Stephen Crane's fiction is...

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This section contains 621 words
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Short Stories for Students
The Last Lovely City from Short Stories for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.