Please wait while we process your payment
If you don't see it, please check your spam folder. Sometimes it can end up there.
Don’t have an account?
Create Your Account
Sign up for your FREE 7-day trial
Already have an account? Log in
Choose Your Plan
$4.99/month + tax
$24.99/year + tax
Save over 50% with a SparkNotes PLUS Annual Plan!
for a group?
Get Annual Plans at a discount when you buy 2 or more!
$18.74 /subscription + tax
Subtotal $37.48 + tax
on 2-49 accounts
on 50-99 accounts
Want 100 or more?
for a customized plan.
You'll be billed after your free trial ends.
7-Day Free Trial
Renews December 11, 2023
December 4, 2023
Discounts (applied to next billing)
This is not a valid promo code.
(one code per order)
Annual Plan - Group Discount
SparkNotes Plus subscription is $4.99/month or $24.99/year as selected above. The free trial period is the first 7 days of your subscription. TO CANCEL YOUR SUBSCRIPTION AND AVOID BEING CHARGED, YOU MUST CANCEL BEFORE THE END OF THE FREE TRIAL PERIOD. You may cancel your subscription on your Subscription and Billing page or contact Customer Support at email@example.com. Your subscription will continue automatically once the free trial period is over. Free trial is available to new customers only.
For the next 7 days, you'll have access to awesome PLUS stuff like AP English test prep, No Fear Shakespeare translations and audio, a note-taking tool, personalized dashboard, & much more!
You’ve successfully purchased a group discount. Your group members can use the joining link below to redeem their group membership. You'll also receive an email with the link.
Members will be prompted to log in or create an account to redeem their group membership.
Thanks for creating a SparkNotes account! Continue to start your free trial.
Your PLUS subscription has expired
See discount terms and conditions.
Borrowing from Thomas Malthus’s principle of population growth, Darwin argues that species must engage in a struggle for existence that limits their possibilities for survival. Malthus shows that while population growth occurs exponentially (doubling every generation until it reaches infinite numbers), geography and limited natural resources (food, water, shelter) restrict the number of organisms that are able to survive in nature. Since the earth cannot accommodate an infinite number of inhabitants, species must compete with one another to survive.
This competition creates what Darwin calls the “struggle for existence,” in which species must fight to survive to avoid extinction. Any small advantage that an organism might have—the ability to run away quickly from predators, coloring that allows it to hide from predators, physical adaptations that allow it to gather food more easily—will give it an edge over other organisms, bettering its odds of winning the struggle over others and surviving.
Darwin identifies two ways in which species can win the struggle for existence. First, they can simply survive and live longer than other organisms. Second, they can leave more offspring than other species do, ensuring that their traits will be passed on to subsequent generations more frequently than will the traits of organisms that reproduce less. These methods of perpetuation are interrelated: An organism that survives over others is also more likely to produce more offspring in its longer span of life. The struggle for existence, then, is not just about individual survival; it is about the survival of groups of related organisms over other groups. Organisms are related through the variations they share, and it is the advantages these variations give to the group that allow them to survive over other organisms.
Ace your assignments with our guide to On the Origin of Species!