SENTIMENT AND THE MIRROR OF REALISM.

SENTIMENT AND THE MIRROR OF REALISM. Another reason the Mulberry Street plays are successful is that they are frankly sentimental. The current show is set during World War II, with two of the young men in the families away in the army. Every day, the people at home is filled with thoughts of the absent soldiers. And it’s Christmas. An honest presentation of the events in the play requires sentiment. I was born in 1942, so the events ought to be a little before my time, but I found memories of my aunts and uncles coming to mind from somewhere—and I think it was from the honest and sentimental accuracy of the show. I think that many works of fiction that seek to be realistic make a point of rejecting sentiment. The assumption is that bleakness is realistic. But if the purpose of the realistic novel is to hold a mirror up to nature, then sentiment can’t be excluded. Daily life for most people is filled with sentimental feelings.

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