Naturalism "has been devoted to documenting, with apparent objectivity, the extreme experiences of characters existing on the margins of society (Sommers)." It is a type of writing used in the late 1800's to the early 1900's that was derived from Realism. The main difference between the two different styles of writing are that while Realism is based on the nearly average life of the middle class character in society, naturalists usually "focused on the desperate existence of characters trapped in slums or in other oppressed settings (Sommers)." Therefore, naturalist writing was based on the struggle of a character rather than just telling about his or her life as the author sees it. Realist writing is usually based on characters living in society where they are put in a struggle with a force within that society that is very often overwhelming or miscomprehended. Once a naturalist writer has laid out the main conflict for a character in a story, most of the writing from that point on is based on how the character faces the challenges, or grows throughout the rest of the story (Sommers). Therefore, most of the beauty or appeal that comes from naturalist writing comes from the simplicity of seeing the character in the story mature and grow in the eyes of the author or audience as he or she faces or comes to deal with the conflict. Usually the city is the most favored setting of realist writers because of the many examples of flaws of society found within one. In many stories written my naturalist authors, one of the main conflicts that the character would face was the need to get away from people because the main character in the story would easily notice the many flaws in the society (Sommers). The characters' main goals or ways with dealing with the many flaws that they have noticed would be to just escape from society. Also, to try and fix many of these flaws that was faced by the character would be a very common theme.
Sommers, Joseph Michael. "naturalism." In Maunder, Andrew. Facts On File Companion to the British Short Story. New York: Facts On File, Inc., 2007. Bloom's Literary Reference Online. Facts On File, Inc. http://www.fofweb.com/activelink2.asp?ItemID=WE54&SID=5&iPin= CBSS450&SingleRecord=True (accessed February 8, 2011).