American Literature I /2223
The Rise of Realism 1852-1960/Sojourner Truth
Realism is the art of expressing everyday life of the normal citizens without the employment of dramatization or romantism. Realism depicts the exact situation on the ground without bias towards any side. Sojourner Truth was a slave and at the same time a woman thus she was in a good position to explain the grievances faced by these groups. She explained her mind through speeches that she held to enlighten the public about equality and grievances of the less privileged. She succeeded in portraying the weaknesses of the society by proving that all people were equal and share similar natural problems and challenges. In essence, Sojourner was concerned with the men portraying themselves as ‘gods’ by assuming they can do anything whereas women could not.
SojournerTruth was in frontline in the fight for freedom for all the African slaves in America. She too was a slave and also women rights activists. In her famous speech “I Aint a Woman’ she outlines her mind on the treatment of women in the American society. The speech exposes the discrimination that the women face just the same as the slaves who do not posses any rights or the ability to defend their rights. "That man over there says that women need to be helped into carriages, and lifted over ditches, and to have the best place everywhere. Nobody every helps me into carriages, or over mud-puddles, or gives me any best place! And Ain't I a woman?" (Truth, 370). She lamentsthat the hypocrisy of the society toward the less privileged makes them a lot more vulnerable to discrimination. In her speech, she expresses realism as a strong virtue by exploiting the characteristics of realism in her speech.
Sojourners speech was based on then rights of the black and white women. She depicts the American society as being dominated by men with women being considered as inferior. The claims are that women are much less intelligent than men hence cannot make any wise decisions in the society. Discrimination in the American society was in manner that the whites were superior to the blacks and the women were inferior to men. Sojourners speech was instrumental for the society to embrace reality and embrace equality. She asserts that, "They talk about this thing in the head; what this they call it is? [Intellect, someone whispers.] That's it, honey. What's that got to do with women's rights or Negroes rights?" (Truth, 370). The realism in the society is depicted in literary works such as nature, government and the famous American dream.
Truth is an important path towards reality. Sojourner unmasks a lot of aspects where discrimination has prevailed. She exposes the American men as being too prohibitive and possessive in allowing women to take up more advance positions in the society. The reality on the situation of the slaves was worse since nobodycared about their welfare since the landlords regarded them as ‘property’. She was not afraid of speaking the truth since she believed that it is only reality that can set off a change in the society. She expresses thought that men are also vulnerable and cannot do anything unique that women cannot. She quotes "Look at me! Look at my arm. I have ploughed and planted, and gathered into barns, and no man could head me!"(Truth 370). The statement is true since men are also human and have no right to depict others as inferior.
In her famousspeech, she describes that,“if the first woman God ever made was strong enough to turn the world upside down all alone, [women] together ought to be able to turn it back, and get it right side up again" (Truth 370). Surprisingly, she makes true statements about men that are absolutely true without fear of repercussions since she believe that it is only truth that could set the community free. Embracing the reality and doing what ought to be done to avert the situations could have been the main goal of the theories of realism explained by Sojourner.
Sojourner truth theory of realism was instrumental in shaping the American society. She had chances of expressing her grievances of the women and the slave to national meetings with the president. This boosted her quest for equality since she was able to address huge crowds who realize how unfair it was to undermine the efforts of others. The day to day challenges facing the Americans and the slaves could be solved if they all worked together to accomplish the American dream. Slaves and women faced common problems which could be solved only if a joint effort in the whole community was adopted.
In a nutshell, Stremmelasserts that reality better explained when all the factors concerned are considered without favor or fear(89). This was the main source of power that Truth had in her quest for freedomand equality in America. She beat all the odds and decided to speak out on behalf of the less privileged.
Gilbert, Olive, and Sojourner Truth.Narrative of Sojourner Truth. Champaign, Ill: Project Gutenberg, 2000. Internet resource.
Leebrick, Kristal. Sojourner Truth. Mankato, Minn: Bridgestone Books, 2002. Print.
Roop, Peter, and Connie Roops.Sojourner Truth. New York: Scholastic, 2002. Print.
Stremmel, Kerstin, and UtaGrosenick.Realism. Koln: Taschen, 2004. Print.