Short Fiction Paper
Fiction writing has existed for a long time, and this is written work often invented by imagination and may be in the form of poems, plays, novels, and short stories. One of the highly character-driven genres of fiction writing is psychological realism. Psychological realism is a writing style that came into the limelight towards the end of the 19th century. One of the key characteristics of this genre of fiction writing is that its primary focus is on the internal thoughts as well as motivations of characters while using the motivation and internal thought to explain the characters’ actions (Kennedy n.p.). On the other hand, surrealism is a genre of fiction writing where there is more use of literary techniques that allow writing in a way that seems to be in tune with impulses and unconscious drives. It should be noted that surrealists, unlike psychological realists, are literarily described as bad boys. This genre of fiction writing is a depiction of scenes, settings, and events that are realistic. Crazy things dominate surrealist literature including animals brushing their teeth, people eating rats, and houses bleeding. The ideas of psychological realism and surrealism enhance one’s understanding of how fictitious writing has evolved over the years, hence the choice of both for exploration. In this regard, this paper discusses the different effects of psychological realism, as opposed to surrealism, from within the Franz Kafka’s “The Fasting-Artist” and Oscar Wilde’s “The Nightingale and the Rose.”
In Franz Kafka’s “The Fasting-Artist,” the primary focus is on the motivations and internal thoughts of the main character highlighting the use of psychological realism. Evidently, any person reading this story would draw a conclusion that the way the “hunger artist” acts is motivated by his urge to satisfy the needs of the curious spectators. He goes to the extreme by accepting to be caged and going hungry for several days, something that is considered risky and impossible in the real sense. In fact, some of the spectators believe that fasting for such a long duration is impossible and camp around to ensure that he is not eating secretly. It is interesting that the “hunger artist” is annoyed and protests when people are suspicious that he might be eating in secret. Further ahead, it becomes evident that the artist has other internal thoughts that also influenced his behavior (Franz 16). In the real sense, the artist’s internal thoughts are that since he cannot find food to his liking, he should participate in public fasting. Although people admired his actions at the beginning, he later confesses that he must not be admired and asks for forgiveness. The use of the psychological realism in the story has different effects, especially on the side of readers. From the readers’ perspective, one of the effects of psychological realism in “The Fasting-Artist” is that it offers readers the opportunity to reconstruct and understand the story from different angles they choose to view it. Another effect of psychological realism as seen in “The Fasting-Artist” is that it provides a platform allowing the creation and recreation of new texts from one text. This objective is achieved through using these pieces of creation to weave a colorful and beautiful tapestry and not marring the content.
Franz Kafka’s “The Fasting-Artist” also highlights the use of surrealism. As already mentioned, this is a genre of fiction writing where there is more use of literary techniques that allow writing in a way that seems to be in tune with impulses and unconscious drives. Several crazy things are done in this story thereby showcasing the use of surrealism. For instance, the fact that the artist erupts in fury and shakes the bars of his cage when consoled by spectators is crazy in itself. Besides, when his time limit or period of staying hungry in the cage is reduced, the hunger artist throws tantrums arguing that the time limit would prevent him from setting a record better than his previous record (Franz 18). As opposed to psychological realism, surrealism in “The Fasting Artist” does not provide the opportunity for readers to understand the story from different angles or how they choose to view it. Instead, the effect of surrealism in the story is that it helps people, especially the readers of the story to overcome possible contradictions between the conscious and unconscious minds. This is achieved through the creation of bizarre or crazy things full of juxtapositions.
Psychological realism is also evident in Oscar Wilde’s “The Nightingale and the Rose.” This is a story that begins with a student bemoaning his fate. The key issue in the story is that the young student cannot dance with a certain young girl because he does not have a red rose. Similarly, in this story, the actions exhibited by the student throughout the story are motivated by his urge to dance with the young girl. For instance, the fact that the young student does not have a single rose in his garden forces him to spend the following night alone (Wilde 7). Of course, had the student found a red rose in his garden, he would have grabbed the opportunity to dance with the young girl. These perspectives from the story are in line with the description or definition of what psychological realism is. As mentioned earlier, psychological realism often seeks to show more focus on motivations as well as internal thoughts when explaining the actions of characters. It is evident that Oscar Wilde does not explain what the character or behavior of the young student means, but instead focuses on showing the readers what motivates his behavior or actions. One of the effects of psychological realism in the story is that it helps the author, Oscar Wilde, to express or convey his opinion on a particular issue in society through characters such as the young student in the story. The societal issue or message or issue passed to readers through the characters is that men often have to sacrifice a lot for the sake of love or marriage. Another effect of psychological realism as seen in Wilde’s story is that it allows the author to show both what the characters do and why they are involved in such actions.
Other than psychological realism, surrealism is also used in Oscar Wilde’s “The Nightingale and the Rose.” It should be remembered that surrealism is all about crazy things happening throughout the literature such as finding animals brushing teeth or talking to humans, people eating rats and others unacceptable foods, and houses taking part in conversations. In “The Nightingale and the Rose,” there is a bird in the graded that sees the young student’s love struggles. In fact, the author argues that the bird has a Romantic Soul leading her to help the student in acquiring a red rose (Wilde 15). The fact that the bird knows the student’s struggles in the first place is crazy and going to the extent of helping the student look for a red rose is even crazier. An effect of surrealism in “the Nightingale and the Rose” us that it evokes dream and fantasy among the readers of the story and forces them to see and think about the world in a new way. Also, it tends to reflect on the lives of humans making the readers realize how magical or distorted things can be in society.
In conclusion, fiction writing has a wide range of genres including the highly-character driven psychological realism and the surrealism. Psychological realism primarily focuses on the internal thoughts and motivations of characters while using the two to explain the actions of a character. Surrealism is a genre of fiction writing that uses more literary techniques allowing writing in a way that seems to be in tune with impulses and unconscious drives. The use of the two genres in any given literature often has various effects. Psychological realism is used in Franz Kafka’s “The Fasting-Artist,” and the effects here are that it offers readers the opportunity to reconstruct and understand the story from different angles they choose to view it. Also, in this story, psychological realism allows the creation and recreation of new texts from one text. This genre is also used in Oscar Wilde’s “The Nightingale and the Rose” where it helps the author express his opinion on a particular issue in society through characters. Surrealism, on the other hand, is all about crazy things happening throughout literature. In “The Fasting-Artist” the crazy thing that happens is that the artist is furious and shakes the bars of his cage when consoled by spectators. In “The Nightingale and Rose” the fact that a bird helps the young student to look for a red rose is in itself crazy. The effect of surrealism is that it evokes dream and fantasy among readers forcing them to think about the world in a new way.
Franz, Kafka. A Hunger Artist., 2013. Internet resource. https://books.google.co.ke/books?id=3sFwCQAAQBAJ&printsec=frontcover&dq=Franz+Kafka%E2%80%99s+%E2%80%9CThe+Fasting-Artist%E2%80%9D&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjRks2ht-_XAhVKBMAKHXvcBxkQ6AEIRjAH#v=onepage&q=Franz%20Kafka%E2%80%99s%20%E2%80%9CThe%20Fasting-Artist%E2%80%9D&f=false
Kennedy, Patrick. “What Is Psychological Realism in Writing?” ThoughtCo, www.thoughtco.com/psychological-realism-2207838.
Wilde, Oscar. The Nightingale and the Rose., 2015. Internet resource. https://books.google.co.ke/books?id=l7LmCQAAQBAJ&printsec=frontcover&dq=the+nightingale+and+the+rose&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwijyZmCwO_XAhWIKsAKHSN7ACEQ6AEIJjAA#v=onepage&q=the%20nightingale%20and%20the%20rose&f=false