our society at cranford.

Throughout this story, Elizabeth Gaskell makes the them of Darwin’s “natural selection” very evident. Natural selection is define by google as: the process whereby organisms better adapted to their environment tend to survive and produce more offspring. The author focused heavily on the external aspects of the characters describing some as “20 shades prettier” and others as sickly and pale. This represents the difference between those who may have been “selected” as opposed to those who have slim chances. The idea is that beauty is connected to strength and adaptability but it is not always the case. Some may have all the physical aspects yet not be able to adapt. This is manifested in her writing. The only character that represents all the qualities as explained in the previous stated definition is Miss Jessie Brown. She being the only one that survives proves that and especially being able to adapt and get married. Which is the second part of the definition; to produce more offspring. Being one that survived and adapted she will produce offspring who will be stronger and more capable of serving as well which will reinforce the idea that Darwin put forth.

It is very clear that the qualities we talked about in class (sweetness and beauty) are representative of the ability to adapt and survive. Darwin may suggest that maybe inherently people are subconsciously looking for a “mate” who will allow their offspring the best chance at survival.

One thought on “our society at cranford.

  1. There’s no doubt that Darwin’s theory of Natural Selection is relevant to Elizabeth Gaskell’s “Cranford.” As you stated, it is merely fact that some women were prettier, and thus were more taken care of. However, I found it very interesting that in this community of all women, only one man stood. At that, the Captain was extremely resilient and adapted to the culture. In contrast, he also changed the way the people of Cranford thought about money and spoke about money. The narrator says “‘Elegant economy!’ How naturally one falls back into the phraseology of Cranford! There, economy was always ‘elegant,’ and money-spending always ‘vulgar and ostentatious,’…Captain Brown came to live at Cranford, and openly spoke about his being poor” (1434). I found this passage to be interesting because eCaptain Brown did not adapt very easily to this, and he in fact ended up changing the way these women in Cranford thought about money.

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