Literature, Language, and Life

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Realism and romanticism found in Kurt Vonnegut and Kate Chopin’s short stories

In Kurt Vonnegut’s short stories, romanticism is a major element of “long walk to forever”. A man who left the military AWOL seeks the love of his life Catharine who is about to get married with another man. As he meets her, she tells him that she doesn’t expect herself to be in a relationship with him since she already has someone in her life. Romanticism here falls in the story because now there is a lot of mystery on what is bound to happen next since Newt who left the military now wants to have a long walk and talk with her.

Realism is also a part of the story because this is actually what happens. The soldier comes from the military to seek the love of his life. The author does an excellent job of portraying two contrasting elements in the story.

On page 58, Newt asks her to marry him, she replies by denying his offer at first, but as he walks away and looks back, she runs back to him and wants to be with him. This is a major sign of romanticism because the story is an extremely predictable piece of fantasy and not realistic of a woman such as Catherine to do what she has done. A man comes back hoping to get the love of his life, struggles and hits some bumps, but in the end, the two main characters are together happily.

In contrast to Kate Chopin’s La Belle Zoraide, La Belle Zoraide did not get to marry the man that she wanted to at the end of the story. La belle Zoraide lacks romanticism in the story because it talks about reality especially amongst the time of slavery where there was a lot of tension. She got her kid taken away from her and did not get what she wanted. The ending turned out to be very sad and disappointing, but this signifies realism because it shows what actually can happen even if it’s a bad thing. In Kurt Vonnegut’s “Long walk to Forever”, the ending was very fantasy ridden and turned out to be a very unrealistic happy ending.


  1. hawks389 says:

    Realism gives the reader a sense of understanding of the time, place, and characters. The realistic setting and behaviors seen make the story accessible and relatable. The author does not say something that may seem unrealistic and this doesn’t give any confusion or surprise. Though the emotions do seem unrealistic such as the love tale between Catherine and Newt it isn’t completely impossible and the history of the story is actually a part of the authors life.

  2. ayahalt says:

    (Not sure if my comment posted so here it is again)
    Similar to Vonnegut’s “A Long Walk to Forever”, Kate Chopin’s stories including “La Belle Zoraide” and “Beyond the Bayou” also include elements that draw from both romanticism and realism. They contain romantic elements in its description of the settings and the vivid imagery. The extensive emotion and natural imagery that is used is also very characteristic of romance narratives. The inclusion of realist elements is noted in the blog post as well.

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