The Idea Of Social Darwinism Essay

The Idea Of Social Darwinism Essay

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At the end of the nineteenth century, society was divulging in all the new scenes in literature and society: realism, romanticism, naturalism, etc. The people of this time tended to veer towards the newly presented socialism. The idea of Social Darwinism, that humans compete in a struggle for existence in which natural selection results in survival of the fittest, prevailed at this time (Social Darwinism). This idea interested the young mind of Frank Norris, who happened to be a naturalist. Norris was a proclaimed socialist who showed his support for the idea of Social Darwinism through his works. After reading an article one day, he birthed the idea to write a work that intertwined the ideas of Social Darwinism and naturalism. With this intent in mind, he began to write his timeless novel, McTeague, a novel full of Social Darwinist views. Norris’ naturalistic views inspired him to write his novel so he could portray the popular notion of hard to control animalistic instincts, which connects with the survival of the fittest view, as well as incorporate naturalism into his modern day.
Norris’ naturalistic views, which were provoked in his time and day, influenced him to write his novel, McTeague. Social Darwinism rose to fame in a time where Norris could easily be influenced because he was a young mind. The social Darwinists believed in a laissez-faire government that favors self-interest and competition in social and business affairs (Social Darwinism). They also believed that select people were biologically superior, supporting the imbalance of powers between individuals, races, and nations (Social Darwinism). Norris believed that this idea, to some extent, was true. As seen in his novel, the stronger are more likely to survive ...


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...ant work as well as one of the pioneer novels of modern day literature.
The goal of Norris in writing McTeague was to tell a story through naturalism that displayed the theory of social Darwinism. His life and experiences contributed to his work and the ideas presented in it. Through his novel, one is able to understand Norris’ viewpoint of socialist theories. He believes that everyone has an animal instinct that is hard to contain which encourages us to compete and do what is best for ourselves instead of others. He also believes that things should be portrayed as realistic instead of something from an imagination or a made up scenario. Norris developed these ideas as he grew as a writer, and was strong in his ideas and beliefs until his death. In conclusion, Norris wrote his novel McTeague to show the instinctive qualities of the person in a naturalistic setting.

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