The realism of fiction is a descriptive conveyance of an integrated environment enabling essentially all five senses. Imagery through the expression of vivid realism is a verbose provision of adjectives that pronounce the continuity of the story to the point where imagery blends realism with fantasy. Of question is whether the use of dreams played an important role in the creation of the works of “Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge” by Bierce, “A White Heron by Jewett, and “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Gilman. Each author expresses themselves with rhetoric of imagery that captivates the reader into a story that could be, the entire story, be a dream sequence.
In the story ‘White Heron, the story is a vivid description of events involving characters that have interrelated lives. The story is likely a compilation of true events and the ‘dreams’ or wishes regarding different outcomes from that of what really happened in real life events on which the story is based. “You needn’t be so plaintive,” said Ann in a sharp voice. “You can go if you want to. I have always been able to take care of myself, but when it comes to maintainin’ two, ‘t ain’t so easy. When you be goin’?”
“I expected you would be sorry,” mourned Jerry, his face falling at this outbreak. “Nancy, you needn’t be so quick. ‘T ain’t as if I hadn’t always set everything by ye, if I be wuthless.” The level of cognition expressed in the language indicates there is a natural or realism in the state of affairs expressed in the environment. The use of dreams in storytelling is a witty use of expression and diction that streams into reality in an attempt to confuse the rider and distort truth from reality. In White Heron, Jewett merges the use of realism that has real events and situations and appears to incorporate throughout the story additional meanderings that indicate possible changes to reality, which may indicate the dream expression.
Realism and Naturalism
Daydreaming is often attributable to stories possessing vivid imagery with descriptive adjectives that exude emotions of the characters in the story. Stories of the naturalism period often involved writers that were daydreamers, as rolling brooks and shady trees were the spots where innovative storytelling would originate throughout this period. The job of the reader who knows they are reading such descriptive material during the naturalism period is to discern fact from fiction and reality from fantasy. The job however is not nearly as easy as may appear to be to work from the period, which is why the work from the period of Realism and Naturalism remains appealing and interpreted by readers to this day.
For example, in ‘The Yellow Wallpaper’, “I suppose John never was nervous in his life. He laughs at me so about this wall-paper! At first he meant to repaper the room, but afterwards he said that I was letting it get the better of me, and that nothing was worse for a nervous patient than to give way to such fancies. He said that after the wall-paper was changed it would be the heavy bedstead, and then the barred windows, and then that gate at the head of the stairs, and so on.” Such a sequence may be a vision, a conjure, not based in reality as the sentimental nature regarding the opinion of John in the use of the narrative beckons a wish, a desire, essentially a dream that is likely different from reality.
To continue the example, “”You know the place is doing you good,” he said, “and really, dear, I don’t care to renovate the house just for a three months’ rental.” “Then do let us go downstairs,” I said, “there are such pretty rooms there.” Then he took me in his arms and called me a blessed little goose, and said he would go down to the cellar, if I wished, and have it whitewashed into the bargain. But he is right enough about the beds and windows and things.” The dialogue indicates a reality that is not apparently distorted with dreams, hopes, and desires that are expressionless and in the narrative, at least not until the end of the sequence when she is taken in the narrative into his arms and is rejoiced and regaled with love.
The example descriptively explains the process of blending fact with fiction, the use of expressions and dialogue to convey the truth and supplemented with what the desired outcome or goal is as expressed in the narrative. The use of Realism vs. Naturalism in the work is a combination of imagery and information, which is a combination of landscape, emotion, and language. The aspect of naturalism that escapes from realism is the emotion and often the landscape. The language essentially is the main and only component that expressively maintains reality.
In the story ‘An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge’, the use of expression and dialogue promote the same form of storytelling as in the previous examples. The main difference however is the lack of direct quotes from characters in the story and a mostly third person viewpoint of narrative storytelling, which can really be either realism or naturalism or inherently some undefinable combination that requires investigation to sniff out what is reality based and what is not. For example, “He closed his eyes in order to fix his last thoughts upon his wife and children. The water, touched to gold by the early sun, the brooding mists under the banks at some distance down the stream, the fort, the soldiers, the piece of drift – all had distracted him. And now he became conscious of a new disturbance. Striking through the thought of his dear ones was sound which he could neither ignore nor understand, a sharp, distinct, metallic percussion like the stroke of a blacksmith’s hammer upon the anvil, it had the same ringing quality.”
Such a description could be a reenactment of a real event experienced by a friend or relative to which the author had exposure to the primary source of information and was able to convey the reality as an expression of vivid imagery. The use of a reenactment allows for the linking of thoughts with dialogue, as the dialogue in this particular story also represents thoughts of the character and not necessarily any spoken work. The reader must generate an opinion of reality of fantasy based on the events in the story and the realism of the possibility of the events given in accordance to the description.