• The Elements of Fiction Writing.
  • Magic realism – Children's and Young Adult Literature
  • Read on to learn more about realism in literature

So far, realism sounds pretty good, right? Sounds pretty . So what’s all this about readers not caring about realism?

Realism and romanticism in fiction; an approach to the novel

Writing the Young Adult Novel; ..

In short, readers could care less about realism. What they care about is the semblance of realism.
However, a doesn't necessarily sing like the chorus, and the character appears in other of literature (short stories, novels, poems) rather than in dramatic works.

Realism and romanticism in fiction : an approach to the novel

No, definitely not advocating “lessening” novels. Every story has to be the length and heft it has to be.
Is realism what people read novels for? No. A novel must have verisimilitude, that is, the appearance of reality, within the context of the world created by the book. But realism?



A good story does not have to be 100% realistic, but it should carry a sense of believability for the context it is set in.
Following from Roemer's thoughts, I would like to talk about some selections from Linda Hogan's novel Power, Loida Perez's novel Geographies of Home, and Toni Morrison's novel Beloved. I offer, first, several lines from each of these novels. First, from Hogan:

In A Name for Love I tried to write a novel for people who cannot read. Because I am a so-called Third World woman and, especially in my country because we have no publishers, we have a tradition of listening to stories. So I chose to tell a story to someone who is not there anymore—it is a "spoken" novel. So it is nice to read, but it is equally nice to hear it. It is the tradition of my country. Our poetry is direct; it is actual. I use lyrics of songs. I want to give words their sounds again, and that is why everything I am doing has an oral background. (509)

The Realistic Genre - Children's Literature Classics

In my examination of these texts, I offer the radical suggestion that many lay readers—intelligent lay readers as well as academics—who might pick up Toni Morrison and attempt to read her powerful novel Beloved might be at best confused, at most frustrated, with this beginning to her book, where a red aura, a burning light surrounds the door frame into a home at #124, in a house that appears to be alive, shaking, screaming, terrifying all who enter its door. Similarly, the opening scene of Perez's novel, Geographies of Home, in which the daughter is "visited" by her mother in the night, talks to her softly, and "picks up the next day from that conversation" when she telephones her daughter during the daylight hours may leave readers wondering; as might the imagined spiders that the older daughter sees and tries to kill in her parents' transplanted New York home—her demons. And, what to do with the spirits, the panthers, the messenger women in Linda Hogan's extraordinary, aptly titled novel, Power? As readers, what do we do with these passages? As folklorists, how are we helping a reading public read and understand the literature that is crowding the bookshelves at Barnes and Noble, on Amazon, and even in our community book clubs?

Victorian Literature, Realism, and Naturalism by …

At this point, I would like to include a few short selections from three recent novels and use these pages to continue my discussion of how we might begin to think about folklore as it is performed in fiction. The connections between these literary fictions and oral fictions will be apparent. Astrid Roemer (a writer from Suriname) says it far better than I ever could in an interview that she did with Charles Rowell, published in the pages of her novel Callaloo in 1998:

Victorian Literature, Realism, ..

First, we might ask, what are the critics saying about these books—these "fictions"? Perhaps one of the more frustrating aspects of this dilemma, for me as a folklorist, is to discover that the literary world basically has no idea what to do with these kinds of "fictions." The presumption by the critics is that many contemporary writers self-consciously write in ways that are intended to "write against" or subvert the literary canon and the imperialism and domination of white European discourse that provides no space for cultural difference(s). Or, as some critics would have it—pointing toward "high" literature, as opposed to "low" literature—the "low" literature might be based on folk or cultural beliefs, but "high culture" would not, serving rather as universal texts that could speak to all readers. Of course, if you are recognized as writing against the norms of "high" literature, you certainly are not accepted within the hallowed halls of that "high" literature—instead you are perceived as merely knocking at the door. This perception reminds me of early critiques of "local color" writing, or writing by women as "different" (usually in negative ways) from normal, canonical writing (of men who had been tutored in the academy). When women began to write, the words most commonly used to characterize their writing were (and are still) "fragmented," "bricolage," "non-linear," "more emotional," "colorful," "nurturing," "interrupted," et cetera. The easy assumption has been that women are writing against the grain of high literature, consciously choosing these layered and "disjointed" effects in their writing; later feminist critiques suggested this might not be the case at all, that perhaps women were writing the way they lived their lives, the way they experienced life, the ways in which they found time to write and ways to express themselves. In other words, they offered different ways of reading and understanding women's writing—ways that were not necessarily a "conscious act of writing against the norm." Many early women writers, in fact, had never been allowed access to the academy; therefore, it was a bit silly to claim they were consciously writing against the grain of a legacy they had not been exposed to. Similarly, when African Americans began to write novels, short stories, memoirs, and to publish long lost slave narratives, again the critics burst on the scene noting how African Americans were consciously writing against the grain seeking avenues of expression that defied the "master's narrative." Their work was deemed subversive, revolutionary, reactionary. Until some African American critics emerged on the scene to suggest that, in fact, African Americans were writing out of their experiences and if their narratives were not the same as "the master's narrative," well, that made perfectly good sense. Like early women writers, subversion was assumed (and certainly in some works is evident), yet, the key to understanding these new literatures was, first, to understand the place from whence the women or the African Americans, the Asians, the Catholics or the Jews were writing. To claim all were writing against the grain privileges the "the grain" once again.