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Marcia

Realism is a common term in arts and its usage in literature is seen as a response to Romanticism. In literature, realism aims at representing familiar things just as they are. Rather than use a romanticized presentation, realist authors attempt to present everyday activities and experiences to their audience. Therefore, literary realism could be expressed as a faithful or true representation of reality.

Marcia is a good example of this school of realism in literature. In Rebecca Harding Davis’s short story titled “Marcia,” we learn that Marcia Barr is the heroine of the narrative. She moves from “a poor plantation on the banks of the Yazoo”, Mississippi to Philadelphia with the hope of striking her luck with any of the big magazines. It is while in this city that she encounters her fate: endless rejection. The problem was that her “spelling was atrocious; the errors of grammar in every line beyond remedy” to the extent that “the lowest pupil in our public schools would have detected her ignorance on the first page.”

In this story, Davis avoids any romantic identification with her heroine. Therefore, the story depicts Marcia as she. She presents her struggles, activities, and experiences and does not romanticize her in any way. We see that although she is creative and does not plagiarize any work, her writing is very poor. Davis tells us that Marcia struggled until she nearly died given that “there was but a feeble flicker of life left in the emaciated little body; not enough to know or speak to us when she, at last, opened her eyes.” Unable to pursue and achieve her dream of becoming a writer, Marcia returns to Mississippi where she marries a plantation overseer. The story portrays the reality of Marcia’s suffering. Had the story ended by narrating Marcia’s success, this could have been interpreted to mean a triumph of the author’s imagination. In this case, however, the author develops an accurate representation of Marcia’s life while exploring her life in the context of her dreams to become a writer.Marcia