Essay, Research Paper: Regionalism Themes

Literature: Civil War

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Realism is the depiction of life as most people live and know it. Regionalism is
a characteristic of Realism that portrays the customs, habits and
characteristics of a particular place. Part of regionalism is local color. Local
color is defined as a particular example of regional characteristics. Local
color can be shown in a particular dialect, dress, and occupations. In Realism
life is depicted as most people live and know it. Local color helps the true
appearance of a place seem more believable to a reader. To better understand
local color one must first understand the three most important traits of it;
dialect, dress, and occupations. Three good examples of local color and
regionalism are found in "The Outcasts of Poker Flat", The Red Badge
Of Courage, And in "A Mystery of Heroism". "The Outcasts of Poker
Flat" is a short story by Bret Harte about a western town that has banished
a group of "improper persons". Local color is first shown in the
beginning of the story when Harte talks about the people to be banished. Harte
described the group using familiar western types. '"The Duchess";
another who had won the title of "Mother Shipton"; and "Uncle
Billy" a suspected sluice robber and confirmed drunkard" (395). The
use of local is shown as Harte describes the persons occupations and appearance.
Bret Harte also uses local color in the dialogue that he gives to his
characters. As Mr. Oakhurst returns to the group he speaks in a particular
dialect. "Is this yer a d____d picnic?" (397). This dialogue is an
example of local color because it portrays the way that people actually talked.
"The Outcasts of Poker Flat" shows local color by describing peoples
occupations and the use of a southern type dialect. The Red Badge of Courage is
a novel by Stephen Crane that tells the life of a young soldier during the Civil
War. Crane uses regionalism to describe the setting of the battlefield a number
of times throughout the novel. In the first chapter Crane describes the
battleground as the sun is rising. "A river amber-tinted in the shadow of
its banks, purled at the army's feet" (443). The Regionalism shown
describes the battlefield and gives one a good picture of what it looks like.
Like Harte, Crane also uses dialect to exhibit local color. When talking about
the war Crane gives dialogue to Jim that shows local color. "Of course
there is. You jest wait 'til tomorrow, and you'll see one of biggest battles
ever was. You jest wait" (446). Crane uses slang words to help show and
give one a better picture of how life is. The Red Badge of Courage portrays many
aspects of Regionalism and Local Color in the setting and the characters
dialogue. Stephen Crane also wrote, "A Mystery of Heroism", another
story about the life as a solider during the Civil War. Crane uses local Color
by showing an example of how the soldiers looked during battle. "The dark
uniforms of the men were so coated with dust from the incessant wrestling of the
two armies that the regiment almost seemed a part of the clay bank which
shielded them from the shells" (286). The description of the soldiers dress
shows local color because it develops the idea of how things were during the
war. Crane also uses dialect to show local color in this short story. As Crane
gives dialogue to Fred Collins, a soldier of one of the armies he uses slang
words to get his point across. '"Thundar! I wisht I had a drink. Ain't
there any water round here?" Then somebody yelled, "There goes th'
bugler!"'(286). The slang words help the story seem more realistic to the
time period and makes the story seem more believable. Like in The Red Badge of
Courage Crane uses local color to help the story seem realistic for That time
period. "The Outcasts of Poker Flat", The Red Badge Of Courage, and
"A Mystery of Heroism" are all stories that use regionalism and local
color to help make them more realistic. Local color which can be used in the
traits of characters dress, dialogue, and occupation make the reader feel more
like they can see the characters appearance. Regionalism which portrays the
setting of a story is a main factor of Realism that helps show the depiction of
life as most people live and know it. Realism was a great time in American
Literature that focused on typical characters living with everyday problems and
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