Survival Of The Middle And Upper Class During The Victorian Era

1272 Words 6 Pages
During the Victorian Era, “survival of the fittest” was a common figure of speech. Based on Darwin’s theory of evolution, it was used to describe the survival pattern of humans during this time period. This term was used to describe the survival of the middle and upper class during the Victorian era while the lower class lived in extreme poverty causing many to die. In this description, the “fittest” humans would appear to be those within the upper class. In reality, however, the “fittest” humans were those within the lower classes, those that lived in poverty rather than with money. Firstly, the job insecurity for the lower class and the determination to pull one’s self from poverty make the lower class more “fit” in terms of evolution. …show more content…
Poverty often dwelled within the areas of the rich. The slums were located in hidden alleys close to the upper class; however, these areas were considered a completely separate territory, one that the upper class dared not explore. Since the slums were an area that the upper class did not use, they were considered inconveniences. Eventually, as poverty spread, many of the upper classes, instead of helping the lower class, moved out of the city and into the country to get away from the unsanitary conditions of the slums. In short, the upper class ignored the hardships of the lower class and completely isolated them as a people who did not deserve help or even the right to be acknowledged. On top of this isolation, due to the location of the slums, the poor were *expected* to watch the lives of the upper class. From their alley slums, the poor could easily see into the world of the upper class. They could see the wealth within clothes, buildings and streets, the hustling and bustling nature of the Victorian Era, they could also hear the joy and laughter of the upper class as they passed by the slums. To the poor, the upper classes were something they could observe but never interact with. The emotional strength it takes to be treated like you do not exist or to be treated as an inconvenience is immense. It requires a strength that the upper …show more content…
Although this describes how humans evolved into the homo sapien sapiens that they are today, to use this theory and its associated trope of “survival of the fittest” to describe the human population during the Victorian era is incorrect. The lower class were ultimately powerless in the fight to escape poverty as their jobs and security relied on their upper-class employers. They also had to live with the emotional turmoil of being cast into the shadows of the upper class, in areas where the poor could witness the happiness and upbeat atmosphere of the upper class but not experience. Lastly, the living conditions of the lower class were, in reality, inhumane; the conditions present within the slums were conditions that humans should never have been subjected too and where the upper class would not be able to comprehend or live with the hardships the lower class experienced. Looking at these three situations, the lower class clearly lived much harder lives than the upper class and managed to survive within these conditions for years. The qualities of resilience, determination, and strength within the lower class are ultimately traits that should be passed on to future generations of humans; therefore, in terms of natural selection, the lower class had more ideal traits

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