The foundations of romanticism and realism share the common theme of alienation however, its views on society and people are very different. Romanticism blossomed with the theme of rejecting elitism and celebrating isolation and human emotions. The belief that society corrupts the goodness of humans further aided romanticism to become a cornerstone in literature in the late 1700s. Realism was a reaction to romanticism that was heavily influenced by rational philosophy. The scientific method was also a heavy influencer, which helped to develop determinism, or the cause and effect logic. It is clear that although romanticism and realism do share the theme of alienation, they do have many differences as well.
The Mines at Falun by E.T.A. Hoffman and Fathers and Sons by Ivan Turgenev was act as the basis for comparing romanticism to realism and how each piece represents alienation. Elis and Basarov are typical romantic and realism heroes that perfectly fit the mold of their respectable times. Elis in The Mines at Falun voluntarily isolates himself from society while Basarov in Fathers and Sons is constantly trying to find his place in society.
Hoffman introduces Elis as a troubled young man with no direction, who rejects the company of his comrades. The news of his mother's death is tragic and adds to his feeling of isolation.
" he felt abandoned by the whole world helpless and wretched. seemed to him a pointless drifting" p.314.
His only motive in life at that point was to work on a ship to earn money in order to make his mother happy. Now that the sole factor that had kept him grounded was gone, Elis sought guidance from an old miner named Torbern. Torbern tells young Elis about mining and its splendors which led to his decision to leave the wide-open sea and sunlit sky to pursue a new career into the depths of the earth to mine. This action reflects the romantic idea of alienating oneself from its ordinary environment.