The novel Rise of Silas Lapham is a realistic novel written by William Dean Howells. This novel was published in year 1885. Author William Dean Howells is known as the father of American realism who initiated and prospered the literature of Realism. Literature of Realism reflects the reality of the second half of the nineteenth century in literary productions. The authors of this period sought to follow the trend of philosophical positivism, to observe and analyze the reality and reproduce it faithfully. Unlike Romanticism, literary previous phase, the writers did not express realistic subjectivity in language, assumed a scientist attitude towards facts. The characteristics of realistic literature are opposed to the romantic. The scenarios have become urban and social environment has to be valued rather than natural (Poindexter).
Love and marriage, which were elements of happiness in Romanticism, became social conventions of appearance. There was an idealization of the male figure as a hero but an exhibition of the man who works and who fights out of a mediocre condition. The very name of this period speaks about his most striking featuring the reality (Soileau). The contemporary world is an attribute of the authors of Realism who worried about the historical moment, the present moment of the society in its political and economic contexts. The characters were created based on ordinary people encountered in everyday writers, with their daily obligations conditioned by factors of race, climate, and social class. The language in Realism is simpler, without aesthetic concerns exacerbated, to cover a wider audience.
William Howell has been a pioneer in American Realism and is well known as a father of the subject. He on almost all of his works has denounced realism. Almost similar approach is used by Howells in Rise of Silas Lapham. He provided the hint of his denouncement to sentimental novel by showing the love triangle of Irene Lapham, Tom Corey, and Penelope Lapham by suggesting the triangle to the readers as deceitful and unrealistic. Further he provides bipolar representation of the city (heavenly city on one side, the other great Babylon) which is a well-known feature of the American imagination. This ambivalence extends into the ideological confrontation of two speeches, one pastoral, the other mercantilist, and in the visions that follow a celebration of a landscape threatened by the machine and urbanization, or otherwise prophecy of a utopian city that would complete the American dream. Reflection of the city is underpinned in the work of Howells particular importance in the novel The Rise of Silas Lapham (Gard, pp. 449). However, the fact that the protagonist returns to his native countryside ultimately suffices to make this story a pastoral American. The return to nature foreshadowing the industrial exploitation of the latter and the trajectory of Silas falls rather in a company of suburbanization. This is the subordination to the landscape and civilizing process, thus achieving the program outlined by Charles Wilson Peale in his iconic painting. There are two scenes in which we can ...