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Mark Twain and Kate Chopin

Mark Twain and Kate Chopin

In Mark Twain’s “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn”, romanticism and realism meet in the scene of establishing of the gang. Tom Sawyer, the author of the gang idea, is typical supporter of romanticism. He motivates everything related to the club activities with the adventurous books about robbers and pirates he has read. His humorous overstatement about killings and robbing is the best example of Twain’s attitude to the romanticism. Tom’s answer that the group won’t murder women also relates to the romanticism epoch in the literature. By hiding out of women, gentlemanly manners and consequent falling in love with young gangsters, Tom tries to give a polish of nobility and generosity to their new occupation. Another interesting moment concerns impossibility to rob and kill on Sundays. According to the opinion of members, such deeds on Sunday are sinful and blasphemous. Twain used this figure intentionally – the murder or robbery by itself is not a sin. Deprivation of human life is not a sin, but carrying out of church tradition is a real value for young heroes of story.

Twain’s creative work is full of Local Color and Regionalism features. Attitude to murders and robberies are typical way of thinking in the Lower South before the Civil War. Such stereotypic images formed the consciousness and inner world of young boys inspired by romantic literature and legends. Twain needs comic presentation of the first meeting strengthened by Tommy Barnes will to go home to his moter to mock the world of the heroes of story. Twain stresses upon the factors, which form Tom Sawyer’s gang vision of the society in general. Tom’s world is based on moral rules and ideas achieved from books. Worth mentioning the fact that the Bible is used equally with pirate and robber adventurous books to define conduct of children as well as.  These books are the foundation of creating their own world without possibility to depart form the set of rules foreseen there. Strength and courage with typical neglect of human life value forms the inner world of adults. Twain skillfully superimposes this on the peculiarities of life in Missouri of that time underlining romantic attitude and nobility. 

Kate Chopin’s Questions

Regionalism as the strain of Realism is typical for the American writers of the end of 19th century and beginning of the 20th century. Kate Chopin is not an exemption of this tendency. Woman – writer, stressing upon sensational topics of treatment of sexuality, in her story “The Storm” used some elements of regionalism. Comparing regionalism and Local Color it is worth mentioning that the first one more deeply is involved in the local world of the region. Chopin described the culture of Louisiana with all the typical features known by her since childhood. In Chopin’s “The Storm”, Louisiana is represented at the turn of the 19th century. Typical dialect, which the main characters use, has a tangible Souuthern accent with French phrases, shows the spirit of the contemporaries of Chopin, Calixta and Alcée. Sometimes it is even impossible to read these phrases without dictionary. Alcée’s pronunciation is characterized by dropping of the syllables at the end.

Another example of regionalism is the will to preserve the past from the changes in the world, which is also typical for the Lower South authors. Showing Bobinôt and Calixta speeches is very symbolic. They use only English that symbolizes that they are representatives of new generation despite being Acadians (“Cajuns”). Their English does not sound so romantic. Chopin stresses by the images following changes opposing idyllic traditions of the past. Diversified social structure is another significant accent on the regionalism of the author. Two main groups form Louisiana population. Alcée as well as his wife Clarisse which appears in the end of the story are Creoles. They originate from France and represent more powerful and rich social group. Calixta and Bobinôt, her husband, are exiles from Nova Scotia. They are Acadians or so called Cajuns. They are much poorer, involved in farming. By using epithet “white” towards Calixta Chopin one more time shows regionalism – the origin of the main character is half French, half Cuban. Such mixed marriages were rather popular in that state during that epoch. All the details, which look not worth attention at the first time, form inexpressible effect of regionalism by Kate Chopin.



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