Date of Award

Summer 8-7-2012

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Dr. Marilynn Richtarik

Second Advisor

Dr. LeeAnne Richardson

Third Advisor

Dr. Michael Galchinsky


This thesis analyzes H. G. Wells’s The Island of Doctor Moreau and Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness within the context of nineteenth-century evolutionary theory. I explore how Charles Darwin and Thomas Huxley used evolution by natural selection to develop differing explanations of the origins of ethics and how this impacted the place each scientist gave morality in civilization. By exploring how Huxley and Darwin understood morality to derive from the phenomena of sympathy and restrain, I illustrate how Wells’s and Conrad’s novellas interrogate these discourses of altruism.