Fireside poets were the poem who narrated their poems around fires across America; their popularity, both in their home country and abroad, rose up due to their writing style and thematic areas. They stuck to standard poetic rules rather than giving a different view of the world as they presented their works. Their poems have a standard structure; this is stanza and verse arrangement. Walt Whitman came in with a new view of poetry, writing in a way that does not use regular rhymes and rhythms.
One of his major works, Leaves of Grass, was described by literary critics and other segmented audiences as being morally unpleasant for the average reader (Harris, p.81). This is because Walt Whitman wanted to introduce a new form of writing that transcends traditional literary forms to a new way of presenting ideas. This was especially on some themes that the fireside poets considered unpleasant to readers and listeners because of political and moral concerns. In Leaves of Grass, he openly writes about sex and prostitution which was considered unpleasant for readers at the time. In terms of structure, the book has no author name printed on it. There is a portrait carved on the title page giving it a unique appearance.
Another factor that makes his works revolutionary is the incorporation of images and symbols. He used these tools to present a picture he wants reinforcing. During the rise of urbanization and the age of wars in America, his works including Democratic Vistas and Memoranda During the War had pictures of rotten leaves and debris to show the level of neglect among the authorities (Harding, p.16).
Rebecca Harding Davis is an American writer who employs lots of literary realism in her works; literary realism is a term used to mean the moment in history when writers came out of their shells to write more about stories of human interest. These stories depicted the society as it is without giving it a poetic slant. She is considered a pioneer in this kind of writing by producing her pieces in a prose format. Prose means the use of ordinary word arrangement without using a metrical structure commonly used in other poetic pieces.
Rebecca Harding Davis use of prose in her works created an element of simplicity as other readers who had no thorough understanding of poetry could not comprehend the rhythms and other elements applied in poetry. It provides a factual account of that which is happening in society in order to influence human perception. A fictional slant can also be introduced to a story to make it relate to the targeted audience since such stories are just mirrors of human existence.
Uncle Tom’s Cabin and Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass are two books that captured the world’s imaginations by bringing out the true picture of what transpired in the days of slavery in America. Douglass used literary realism in his personal account of what he saw the slaves going through in the hands of their masters. He applies heavy vocabulary to describe his master’s inhuman nature; “his savage barbarity was equaled by the consummate coolness with which he committed the grossest and most savage deeds upon the slaves under him” (Douglass and Stepto, p.62). These called for social justice by giving a firsthand account of the human rights violations being practiced in America.
Douglass, Frederick, and Robert B. Stepto. Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass: An American Slave. Cambridge (Mass.: the Belknap Press of Harvard university press, 2009. Print.
Harris, Sharon M. Rebecca Harding Davis, and American Realism. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1991. Print.
Harding, Rebecca Blaine. “Rebecca Harding Davis Criticism.” eNotes – Literature Study Guides, Lesson Plans, and More. N.p., 1 Jan. 2012. Web. 9 July 2012.