Realism and Freedom in Literature of Dwight D. Eisenhower Essay

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Realism and Freedom
Dwight D. Eisenhower once stated, "Freedom has its life in the hearts, the actions, the spirit of men and so it must be daily earned and refreshed-else like a flower cut from its life-giving roots, it will wither and die" (Rather 1). The meaning of the term freedom is often open to interpretation, and can represent different meanings to different groups of people. Up until the Realistic time period, many Americans viewed freedom as being able to enjoy the rights given to them under the U.S. Constitution. They saw this concept as something they had already attained, not something that they had to strive towards. Many of them lived their lives based merely on emotion and did not take into consideration that all men were not treated equally according to their lifestyle. The Civil War altered the way Americans viewed life and shifted their emphasis from emotion to reason; this marked the beginning of the Realistic time period and transformed the American Dream into a longing for freedom.
While the Realist time period had many defining characteristics, the American Dream centered on freedom. Realism in America was an era which took place from the Civil War to 1914. This time period was set apart from the Romantic period in that the focus shifted to the common person instead of an over dramatized hero. Contrary to the previous beliefs of romantics, realists valued everyday life and events. They demonstrated this through their use of familiar speech and daily struggles (Arpin 457). According to Josh Rahn, "Students of the human mind were beginning to realize that an individual is composed of a network of motivations, interests, desires, and fears. [...] Realism, at its highest level, attempts to lay thes...

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...The American Dream: A Short History of an Idea that Shaped a Nation. New York:
Oxford, 2003. Print.
Douglass, Frederick. “Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass”. Elements of Literature:
Fifth Course. Austin: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 2008. 465-469. Print.
Lincoln, Abraham. “Gettysburg Address”. Elements of Literature: Fifth Course. Austin: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 2008. 514. Print.
Rahn, John. “Realism.” The Literature Network. Jalic Inc., 2014. Web. 22 April 2014.
Rather, Dan. The American Dream: Stories from the Heart of Our Nation. New York:
HarperCollins Publishers Inc., 2001. Print.
“The Rise of Realism:1860-1914.” IIP Digital. U.S. Department of State, 2014. Web. 22 April
Whitman, Walt. “A Sight in Camp in the Daybreak Gray and Dim”. Elements of Literature:
Fifth Course. Austin: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 2008. 376. Print.

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