Lizzie Rainey: Darwin and Gaskell

Comparisons between Charles Darwin’s pieces and Elizabeth Gaskell’s Our Society at Cranford come across as similar yet using different comparisons. For example, Darwin explains in The Descent of Man that, “The main conclusion arrived at in this work, and now held by many naturalists who are well competent to form a sound judgment, is that man is descended from some less highly organized form.” which highlights the fact that he is stressing how if we want society to get better then we shouldn’t let some people get married so that way we won’t have such a horrible offspring (a bit harsh, no?).

Now in ELizabeth Gaskell’s Our Society at Cranford there is a constant repetition, especially in the beginning, of how women disdain the men. “The ladies of Cranford were already rather moaning over the invasion of their territories by a man and a gentleman.” and if that is not painfully obvious as to the fact that the women of Cranford are opposed to the idea of men in their town then this reason might be: “All the holders of houses above a certain rent were women. If a married couple come to settle in the town, somehow the gentleman disappears; he is either fairly frightened to death by being the only man in the Cranford evening parties, or he is accounted for by being neighboring commercial town of Drumble, distant only twenty miles on a railroad.” The comparisons between the two are that they both want to point out that there are flaws making society and mistakes that need to be made immediately (but they only want there solutions it seems to me).

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One thought on “Lizzie Rainey: Darwin and Gaskell

  1. I was also struck by this comparison between the women and Cranford and the “fittest” species that Darwin writes about. It seems like all the women want to do is drive the men out, and the only real reason we get it is that they just get in the way in the house. This is definitely similar to what Darwin says about species evolving through random genetic variation, and how the animals better suited to their environment, maybe like Captain Brown, stand a better chance at survival.

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