Social Darwinism In Frank Norris's Mcteague

1016 Words 5 Pages
Everything a person encounters influences them in some way. Frank Norris, the author of McTeague, was continuously influenced throughout his life by works of other authors and people around him. Norris’ childhood life, college professors, the Sarah Collins murder, and the theory of Social Darwinism all influenced his works. Norris’ studies as a child contributed to his knowledge and inspiration for his many works. As a child Norris studied painting for two years at Academie Julian in Paris. This was where he was introduced to Emile Zola’s naturalistic novels that influenced some of his works that include the theme of naturalism such as McTeague and The Octopus. Norris, after his two years in Paris then decided that painting was not his calling, but the art form of creative writing. He then went to the University of California, Berkeley, to study just that. …show more content…
One in particular, was his professor and Christian evolutionist, Joseph Le Conte. Le Conte promoted Social Darwinist theories, and believed that God’s plan was for the survival of the fittest. This further influenced Norris and his novels that are focused on Social Darwinism. His time at Berkeley ended when he could not graduate because he did not pass his math exam, however, he went on to study creative writing at the prestigious Harvard. During his one year at Harvard, Norris composed two novels. His first novel was Vandover and the Brute. The second novel, and one of the most important novels of his career, was McTeague. The inspiration for his novel came primarily from his time at Berkeley and the influence La Conte had on him. The Social Darwinist theory that Norris was exposed to led to his overall theme of the rise of those strongest to live in a certain environment and the fall of those too

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