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Naturalism was a philosophical movement during the late 1800s to mid 1900s, that marked a movement toward greater emphasis on nature, rather than materialistic society, and the natural world. The philosophy of naturalism teaches that nothing exists beyond the natural, that which can be discerned through science and natural observation. All humans are the product of certain circumstances; we are a caused species, not a self-causing. Naturalists [different word…claim] that there is no supernatural world, no God nor gods that affect our lives or give us Purpose. Instead, humans are made from the circumstances created by the universe, which is governed by natural laws. We have the free will to affect our circumstances in a way that would lead to a more beneficial conclusion for ourselves. Naturalism leads to the search for the cause of a problem, instead of the solution. Naturalism, like all philosophies, entered the literature of its time. This literature was marked less by what naturalism could offer society than by the power of nature. Literary naturalism was characterized by the power of nature over society, the fight of an individual to remain attached to civilization, and by the attempt to portray situations as clearly and as scientifically as possible. This blended with realism to stark descriptions, depictions of racism, pessimism, and some of the worst aspects of society. Zora Neale Hurston wrote Their Eyes Were Watching God in 1937, at the end of the movement. Their Eyes is a tale of a black woman’s, Janie Starks, travels in the search of a marriage based on true love in Florida. The book is full of commentary on race, money, and nature, as well as the local colloquialism of deep black [time period] Florida. These relationships can be characterized as naturalistic or not, and their success or failure can be attributed to their characterization, respectively. Janie’s marriage to Tea Cake in the Everglades was marked by a naturalistic philosophy, as well as an increase in literary naturalism. Her lengthy marriage to Jody was marked was not so naturalistic, and for this reason, it failed while her relationship with Tea Cake succeeded. Janie’s marriage with Tea Cake was characterized by naturalistic philosophy. Tea Cake and Janie show their value of nature: they live In the Everglades amidst the wilderness, away from staunch society. The devaluation of money and material wealth that is apparent in their relationship is an indicator of naturalism: Janie, even with $200 in her pocket and $2,000 more in the bank, marries poor Tea Cake Woods. Janie learns from Tea Cake that “it’s de thought dat makes de difference” (115), not some amount of money.…...

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