Examples Of Mcteague And Social Darwinism

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The belief in the superiority of certain people over others was what gave rise to the idea of Social Darwinism. Social Darwinism was started in the late 19th century, and was loosely based off of Charles Darwin’s theory of Natural Selection. Several people believed in this idea at the time, including an American writer by the name of Frank Norris. His belief in Social Darwinism can be seen in his writings, especially in his book McTeague. In, McTeague, several characters who start in the lower class, attempt to leave their current position in life by acquiring more money. The characters failed miserably in their attempt. Frank Norris wrote McTeague to illustrate his belief that people who are born into a lower social class, will remain in that …show more content…
McTeague was an unlicensed dentist who had a low level of intelligence, which attributed to him being considered a part of the lower social class. Trina, like McTeague was also considered to be a member of the lower class because of her family’s background as immigrants who did not fit into American society. However, shortly before McTeague and Trina get married, Trina discovers that she has won five-thousand dollars in the lottery. This sudden surge of wealth appears to be great news for a soon to be married couple, however, that would not end up being the case. The money ends up coming in between the two, as McTeague and Trina have many disagreements on how to deal with the fortune that they have been awarded. Because of these disagreements, Trina is eventually driven insane, and McTeague becomes abusive towards Trina. Everything finally toppled over when McTeague murdered the woman he once loved, and was left stranded in the desert, handcuffed to a dead corpse that was once his best friend, and next to the money that had gotten him in his current predicament in the first place. Frank Norris believed that people like McTeague and Trina could not handle having that large amount of money, and through them he showed what he believed could happen if lower class citizens were to attain a large sum of …show more content…
Old Grannis and Miss Baker, like all the other four characters, were rejected by all of society. In their case, it was because of how bashful and timid they both were. Both Miss Baker and Old Grannis were infatuated by each other, and they had a strange way of showing it. The two characters never talked to each other, despite living next door to each other and both knew the other’s habits and daily routines. Their strange behaviors were what separated them from the rest of society, however, it was something completely different that separated them from the other main characters. Unlike the other four characters, McTeague, Trina, Zerkow, and Maria, Old Grannis and Miss Baker make no attempt to ever leave their current situation in life. Even after Old Grannis is given a large sum of money for his invention, he does not make any attempt to pursue a higher social status. Instead, he and Miss Baker get married, and the only major change is a door being made in between their two rooms. The two are happily married and are able to live a happy lifestyle, despite still living like lower class citizens. Out of all three couples, Old Grannis and Miss Baker are the only ones who have the ability to say this. Frank Norris believed that a lower class person’s greatest chance at living a satisfying lifestyle is to make the best of what they were already

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