Realist Novel – HenryHenry Fielding
November 20, 2023
The definition of a novel is up for debate, the definition is not definite, but proposed definitions often include the idea that a novel is writing of a certain length. People also say that a novel is prose, there are even a few extremists who demand that a novel has characters and plot. Extremism is also a term up for debate, but generally extremism is considered abnormal and bad, or abnormal and therefore bad, but more importantly, it is uncomfortable. Exposure to extremism of any kind is like snapping the elastic of one’s own undergarment. Other elastic snappers demand “elements of realism.” As a careful novelist myself, I have respect for the form, I would even go so far as to say that my respect is enormous, so I would be remiss if I didn’t analyze what is meant by “realism.” After some investigating, it seems that realism is generally about mapping the hypothetical or imagined world of the novel into prose, using the right amount of the right kind of words. If the author uses too many words, there might be accusations of “maximalism” and if there are too few, accusations of “minimalism,” the wrong kind, “surrealism” or something of the sort. According to a synthesis of snappers, it seems that the most important aspect of “realism” is imagination. The reader, while reading, can imagine a world similar to our own. I can’t help but see problems with the criteria of an object being dependent on an observer’s ability to observe. Imagine a beautiful summer day where the protagonist is compiled of traits. These traits are demonstrated through their responses to conflicts that are trivial, and then in comparison to the central conflict that will happen later. Some of these traits help the protagonist get what they will want, other traits will need to be changed and overcome. Imagine fifteen thousand words like this. Imagine pages turning and time passing, the sun, seen through a window, changing positions in the sky. Then something unusual happens in the world of the protagonist, a world much like our own, and the protagonist will pursue their newfound desire for completeness, which as I understand it, means the changing of some of their traits, and in their pursuit, the protagonist will behave, in comparison with their established disposition, abnormally. Then there will be a climax of some sort. Imagine twenty thousand words. Then the protagonist will return home, literally, figuratively (you are free to imagine the return home as you please). At home again, you realize, or they do, or both (it’s your choice, or up to your interpretation) that the set of traits that composed the protagonist on that beautiful summer day that feels so far away now, to you and the protagonist, are different. The protagonist has changed some of the traits that they thought (or we thought) led them to feel incomplete. Imagine fifteen thousand words, and the feeling of moving closer to the back cover as the character moves closer to the end. The end. But endings, I have come to understand, are arbitrary. If it hadn’t ended, you could watch the protagonist become incomplete again.