Realism: James / Jewett / Chopin

James – Reading and Review Questions:

  1. What features of Realism do you see in Daisy Miller?
  2. How does James use point of view in the novella? For example, who is the narrator in the story? What effect does the narrative voice have in conveying the story as gossip?
  3. Is Daisy Miller truly an innocent? Is she a victim of a cynical, hypocritical culture? Or does she bring about her own fate?
  4. How is Winterbourne, also an American abroad, different from Daisy? Through what lens does he view Daisy?
  5. Why does Winterbourne obsess over whether Daisy is “innocent” or not? What is Winterbourne seeking in Daisy?
  6. What does the expression “Roman fever” mean in the context of the story? While the expression refers literally to malaria, what other figurative associations might the expression convey?

Jewett – Reading and Review Questions:

  1. What overlapping features of Local Color, Regionalism, and Realism can been seen in A White Heron?
  2. What is the symbolic value in various elements of nature in the story, for example, of the tree, the cow, the heron, the sea, or even Sylvy (whose name means “the forest” or “woods”)?
  3. How does the story convey a feminist or proto-feminist theme?
  4. Is Sylvy saving only the heron when she keeps the heron’s location secret? Explain.
  5. Even though Sylvy is only nine years old, how does Jewett explore the concept of heterosexual love in the story? How is the possibility of future love between Sylvy and the ornithologist portrayed?
  6. What contrasts between the country and city are examined in terms of Sylvy’s characterization?

Chopin – Reading and Review Questions:

  1. How do either (or both) stories represent elements of Realistic or Naturalistic fiction?
  2. In “At the ‘Cadian Ball,” what is the relationship between social classes presented in the story (Creoles and Acadians)?
  3. In “The Storm,” what does the title suggest in terms of figurative meaning?
  4. In “The Storm,” is it reasonable to accept that at the end “everyone was happy”? Or are consequences possible or inevitable beyond the ending of the story?
  5. What does a reading of the stories in sequence provide readers in terms of interpretation of “The Storm” that a reading of the second story alone might not?
  6. Examine the role social class plays in both stories.


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American Literatures After 1865 Copyright © by Scott D. Peterson; Amy Berke; Robert Bleil; Jordan Cofer; and Doug Davis is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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