Realisms View on Reputations

Essay by frogbell87 April 2004

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Realists believed that the reputation took too great a role in society. The reputation was held to be the deciding factor of a person's social status and this placed tremendous pressure upon the people. Bret Harte believed that the reputation of a person, if not viewed favorably, was a reason for a person to be removed from society. This removal was based solely upon the reputation that the person had and how it reflected upon the town. Ambrose Bierce believed that in order for one to retain a good reputation, a person would make rash decisions and would take actions that in the norm the person would not do. Stephen Crane believed, like Ambrose Bierce, that a reputation could have a negative effect upon the person and lead to decisions that would normally be frowned upon. Realists applied their beliefs to the masses as well as the individual. They viewed the reputation to be one of the major causes of the Civil War.

Reputations played a great role in society. They were the deciding factor in one's social status. The reputation was decided solely based upon on what others thought of you. The decision could not be reversed. The society often looked for a scapegoat upon which to blame societal problems. The scapegoat was often one that harmed the people (i.e., a gambler). The need for a good reputation placed a considerable amount of pressure on a person to achieve social perfection in fear of receiving an unfavorable reputation.

The fear of an unfavorable reputation often led to the making of rash decisions. These decisions could lead to death or near death experiences. In Mystery of Heroism, Stephen Crane depicts a young man looking to earn the reputation of a brave youth. He has, however, been cursed with the reputation...