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The Frivolity Of Evil in Life At The Bottom: The Worldview That Makes The Underclass

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The authors main argument

Theodore Dalrymple main argument range from the fact that the society is eating itself in the sense that numerous evil that is taking place emanates from our own previous actions. People are getting used to misery and problems to the extent that they take actions without preceding their consequences. For instance, the author uses a prisoner as an example that after serving their jail terms they leave with their heads high with the intention that they have paid for their crimes to the society and now they can restart. However, the prisoners forget that they would not have been in the predicament if they had not committed the crimes in the first place (Dalrymple, 216). It is a personal choice to embark on crimes even if the situation around you is dire it comes down to the individual to make the decision. The author explains that is not appropriate for a woman or man both to have a child when they have a good understanding that they are not going to provide (Dalrymple, 202). The author resonates such thinking to pure evil because the child might end up as a drug dealer, get into criminal activities among other vices. The author blames the society and the government in general because after operating for more than 14years in the Birmingham slums the author witnessed how the government is exposing its people to misery. Dalrymple exhibits that people living in such conditions are prone to take part in evil activities because of their surroundings and since there is little to offer, they do not take caution to their actions instead blame the society.

How does the author support the main argument?

Dalrymple is direct with his comparisons and descriptions of evil in the society that help touch and reflect on the lives of numerous people. The author interacts with numerous people in his career of 14 years in the slums and thus has witnessed numerous sources of evil. The author touches on common issues that one can easily insinuate as mistakes that will make it easier to increase efficiency and challenges to the society. The author supports his claims through examples such as a mother closing the door out for her own child in favor of a new boyfriend. It is not appropriate at all because the child’s needs should come first and even despite that a boyfriend that does not want children or whom one has to hide children from does not appear as a good fit (Dalrymple, 46). The author describes such as evil because there is no positive outcome from all the choices in such a scenario thus implying how people make their own choices and would later blame others for them.

Dalrymple also supports the main argument in his story by exposing that why would a woman choose to have three separate kids with three different parents. The author blames the mother because it appears like she had the idea about her taste of men and did not do anything about it and instead kept having children with them. The choice become a pattern after the first instance that then leaves the woman calling for help from other parties. Numerous people fail to come up with stands in their life and thus they keep repeating their mistakes over and over that make it a challenge. In the other situation, a criminal that is serving a jail term of like 15 years after completing their terms start bragging of paying for their crimes and the debt in the society. The people forget that they are the criminals and not the society that stole or robbed others. The existence of evil is prevalent in the story and it all comes down to the individual choices and we have to find measures of accepting that we have wrong and some evil in us so as to learn and own our mistakes.

Do you agree or disagree with him?

I agree with the author in his description of frivolity of evil because it exist within us in the society that then makes up an individual. We are all different people that makes it a challenge all with unique traits that will ensure productivity and guarantees that will ensure that we become who we are in the greater society. We all have different roles and responsibilities that emanate from out individual traits. For instance, a person that has a pure heart with the urge to help the others without any need for justification and there are others with crude and evil in their hearts and their actions justify the intentions. Most criminals are just people that took a wrong turn while there are other lucky people living in the society because they have not given in to their evil. There are some people that just love fighting and cannot avoid the urge to fight thus making it a challenge their evil and they get into trouble because of it and can corrupt others with no will to fight to become like them.

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The various examples prove that the author is right and I agree with them because it is important to understand that a child is a blessing and thus people would expect a lot more from the child in the future. the fact that one makes up a choice to steal in the slums while the others do not prove that we have different levels of evil within us. It is an individual choice to listen and respond to the traits that make the difference because if each one of us listen to our inner voices and respond accordingly then it would have been difficult to have order. However, to some extent I would critic the Dalrymple thinking because the power of situation surrounding an individual is way stronger and might affect their outcome. For instance, in the slums people might stay without food and the only option is to steal or a woman has to sell herself to provide for her children makes the difference. However, there is thin line between such activities and it is important to understand the reasons for one’s evil and how they are addressing it at the moment.

Why or why not?

The fact that people have the opportunity to make choices proves that the various parties have the chance to make the right decision. A person will not pick a rotten apple from a tree and there is a ripe one on the same tree. The difference is that people have chances and those the omit the crimes tend to have the proper understanding of their actions. Dalrymple uses the example of the prisoners that he used to interact with while aiding in the prison system, whereby most of them understand well that they did commit crimes and what pushed them to such decisions and one would understand that they made the choice. An individual that has a clear understand of why and how he got to prison proves their sanity and their capability to make the right choices but at that moment of their life they chose not to listen to their second voice.

The author uses women who choose to have toxic and unproductive relationships and leave them with children as another group of people with evil in them. It is not appropriate for one to sit back and look at their life flashing down the drain the first time and deem it okay and go the extent to repeat it the second time and even a third. The repetition proves that it is a choice because it should be the mistakes from the first time should be a lesson that will act as a wake-up call and help them choose proper upright men and avoiding bringing forth children without proper structure. The author explains that as he spoke to his group of women patients about their choice of men, they laughed proving that they understood what they always do thus establishing that the author was right and there was truth to his findings.


It is not argument that Britain is one of the most successful nations in the world with proper laid out systems but yet there are still people living in slums and children living in poor conditions. The country stands out for such matters across the world that does not make much sense especially because people are suffering despite the system. The book is relevant to such a scenario because as the government is made of numerous people with interests they tend to focus on non-issues while the issues remain without notice. The article helped explain and prove that personal decision is paramount not only in our daily lives but in our entire lives thus it is essential to sit back and check for all possible scenarios and outcomes before leaping.

Works Cited

  1. Dalrymple, Theodore. Life at the Bottom: The Worldview That Makes the Underclass. Chicago: Ivan R. Dee, 2001. Print.

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The Frivolity Of Evil in Life At The Bottom: The Worldview That Makes The Underclass. (2022, February 17). Edubirdie. Retrieved November 26, 2022, from
“The Frivolity Of Evil in Life At The Bottom: The Worldview That Makes The Underclass.” Edubirdie, 17 Feb. 2022,
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