A twelve sentence paragraph analysis of how An Episode of War is a good example of naturalism and realism.

The 12-Sentence Paragraph

An Episode of War

Written by Stephen Crane, “An Episode of War” is an example of Realism and Naturalism, two major responses to Romanticism in the 19th century. This short story provides many examples consisting of settings and beliefs in which people seem to be helpless and other situations in which the author demonstrates that the character’s situation/predicament is based on his personal decisions. Naturalism is shown at the beginning of the story as the lieutenant first glimpses blood from a gunshot wound on his arm, as this was a situation in which no decisions made by the lieutenant could have prevented that outcome and was instead entirely affected by the environment and chance, which is an explanation consistent with the definition of naturalism. In order to explain nature’s unexpected role in the text, Crane writes, “During this moment the men about him gazed statue-like and silent, astonished and awed by this catastrophe which happened when catastrophes were not expected–when they had leisure to observe it.” No reaction could describe a more naturalistic situation. The described effects of the gunshot wound, which greatly influenced the way the lieutenant physically operated, demonstrates an example of realism. In the text, the author displays the great extent of the effects of the gunshot by stating, “This wounded officer engaged in a desperate struggle with the sword and the wobbling scabbard, and during the time of it he breathed like a wrestler.” This statement acknowledges the fact that even people with higher statuses and roles still experience pain and conflict, a realistic thought expressing how everyone is equal. A third instance in which realism is demonstrated in this novel regards the false statement spoken by the doctor. When he says, “Come along, now. I won’t amputate it. Come along. Don’t be a baby,” and eventually amputates the lieutenants arm (the exact opposite of his promise), realism is demonstrated because the main character was able to make the choice of whether to believe the doctor, therefore making a decision affecting his fate. The lieutenant’s choice was truly an example of realism. Out of the many stories written after the Civil War shattered America’s idealism, “An Episode of War” provides many examples of naturalism and realism, which were two national resultants of that fateful battle between the North and South.

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  • Jordan R on Feb 8, 2012

    Thank you! This is really comprehensive, I never thought of it this deeply, I have to become a better thinker!

    I couldn’t think of anything better to do than to be the first commenter! You really deserve a comment, because this is great! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Test TOMORROW!

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