The War of the Worlds by H. G. Wells

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How is Social Darwinism exemplified in War of the Worlds?

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In War of the Worlds, social Darwinism is exemplified through the narrator's sympathetic portrayal of the Martian invasion.

According to social Darwinism, it is natural for the "strong" to overpower, enslave, or destroy the "weak." This social theory was promoted by Herbert Spencer, the 19th century English philosopher, who is said to have popularized the phrase, "survival of the fittest." Spencer, of course, was an admirer of Charles Darwin. His social Darwinist theory justified imperialist European ambitions and the racist policies that enslaved Africa in the 19th century.

Spencer believed that the strongest species were the most adaptive ones in a violent, changing world: whether this was being applied to plants, animals, or humans, the strongest always moved toward greater self-sufficiency and individual potential. H.G. Wells's story exemplifies Spencer's social Darwinism through its portrayal and characterization of the Martians.

For example, the narrator describes how the Martians may...

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